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Boswell in Holland, 1763-1764 
is the second of 4 volumes in The Yale 
Editions of the Private Papers of James 
Boswell to be published as McGraw-Hill 
Paperbacks. Other titles in this unique 
publishing venture include: 

Boswell's London Journal, 1762-1763 
(McGraw-Hill Paperbacks 066O3, $2.45) 

Boswell on the Grand Tour 
Germany and Switzerland 
(McGraw-Hill Paperbacks 5O552, $2.45) 

Boswell for the Defence, 1769-1774 
(McGraw-Hill Paperbacks 7O964, $2.65) 

Frederick A. Pottle, the editor of this volume, 
is Professor of English and Chairman 
of the Department at Yale University. He is 
also Chairman of the Editorial Committee 
for this series. 

Tower of the Cathedral and part of the Cathedral 
Square, Utrecht, as seen from the west, from a wash draw- 
ing in ink by J. de Beyer, 1746. BoswelVs rooms, which 
cannot be seen from the artist's vantage point, -were at the 
west end of the Square and facing the Tower. 







Boswell in Holland, 1763-1764. Copyright, 1928, ^52, by Yale University. 
All rights in this book are reserved. It may not be used for dramatic, 
motion-, or talking-picture purposes without written authorization from 
the holder of these rights. Nor may the book or parts thereof be 
reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission in writing, 
except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and 
reviews. For information, address the McGraw-Hill Book Company, 
Inc., Trade Department, 330 West 426. Street, New York 36, New York. 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 52-5345 
Copyright renewed 1956 


FREDERICK A POTTLE, PHD., LITT.D, UL.D., Sterling Professor of English, Yale 
University; CHAIRMAN 

FREDERICK W. HILLES, PH D., Professor of English and Chairman of the Department of 
English, Yale University 

HERMAN W. LIEBERT, Assistant to the Librarian and Research Associate, Yale Uni- 
versity Library 

EDWARD C. ASWELL, Vice-president, McGraw-Hill Book Company 


C COLLEER ABBOTT, M A., PH.D., Professor of English Language and Literature in the 

University of Durham 

JAMES T. BABB, M.A., Librarian of Yale University 
THOMAS G. BERGIN, PH D., o B E , Benjamin F. Barge Professor of Romance Languages 

and Literature, Yale University 

CLEANTH BROOKS, B.A., BLITT. (OXON ), Professor of English, Yale University 
PAUL S. BREUNING, LITT D., Deputy Librarian of the University of Utrecht 
R. W. CHAPMAN, D.LITT., LL D., F B.A., Sometime Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford 
JAMES L. CLIFFORD, PH.D., Professor of English, Columbia University 
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE LORD CLINTON, P.C , G.C.V o., Fettercairn House, Fettercairn, 


PSA., Chairman, National Library of Scotland 
W. R. CUNNINGHAM, MA., LL D , University Librarian and Keeper of the Hunterian 

Books and MSS, Glasgow 

L. P. CURTIS, PH.D., Associate Professor of History, Yale University 
M. R. DOBIE, B A., Librarian, National Libiary of Scotland 
ARTHUR A. HOUGHTON, JR., L.H.D., New York City 
DONALD F. HYDI . Four Oaks Farm, Somerville, New Jersey 
W. S. LEWIS, LITT.D., L H D , Fellow of Yale University and Editor of the Yale Edition 

of Horace Walpole's Correspondence 

C. A. MALCX>LM, M.A., PH.D., O.B.E., Librarian to the Society of Writers to the Signet, 


HENRI PEYRE, DR.ES L., Sterling Professor of French, Yale University 
L. F. POWELL, M.A., D.LITT., F.R.S.L., F.L.A., Sometime Librarian of the Taylor Institu- 
tion, Reviser of Hill's Edition of Boswell's "Life of Johnson" 
S. C. ROBERTS, M.A., Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge 
L. W. SHARP, M.A., PH.D., Librarian to the University of Edinburgh 
T. B. SIMPSON, K.C., LL.D., Sheriff of Caithness, Sutherland, Orkney, and Shetland 

D. NICHOL SMITH, LITT.D., LL.D., F.B.A , Emeritus Professor of English Literature in 

the University of Oxford 

CIIAUNCEY B. TINKER, PH.D., LITT.D., L.H D., Sterling Professor of English Literature, 
Emeritus, and Keeper of Rare Books in the University Library, Yale University 

The Yale Editions of the Private Papers of James Boswell will consist of two inde- 
pendent but parallel series planned and executed for different types of readers. One, 
the "research" edition, will give a complete text of BoswelVs journals, diaries, and 
memoranda; of his correspondence; and of "The Life of Johnson," from the original 
manuscript: the whole running to at least thirty volumes. It will preserve the spelling 
and capitalization of the original documents, and will be provided with extensive 
scholarly annotation. A corps of expert editors and a permanent office staff are engaged 
in this comprehensive undertaking, the first volume of which may appear by 1955. The 
other, the reading or "trade" edition, will select from the total mass of papers those 
portions that appear likely to interest the general reading public, and will present them 
in modern spelling and with annotation of a popular cast. The publishers may also 
issue limited de luxe printings of the trade volumes, with extra illustrations and 
special editorial matter, but in no case will the trade volumes or the de luxe print- 
ings include matter from BoswelVs archives that will not also appear in the research 

The present volume is the second of the trade edition. The first, "BoswelVs London 
Journal, 1762-1763," was published in 1950. 


INTRODUCTION by Frederick A. Pottle xi 

TEXT OF Boswell in Holland, 1763-1764 i 
CORRESPONDENCE WITH Belle de Zuylen (Zelide} and Others, 1764- 

1769 293 

APPENDIX i. Boswell's Inviolable Plan 387 

APPENDIX n. Boswell's French Theme on the Aston Family 391 

APPENDIX ni. Letter of Abraham Gronovius to Boswell 393 

APPENDIX iv. Letter of Frangois Mazerac to Boswell 394 

APPENDIX v. Letter of Belle de Zuylen to Boswell 397 

INDEX 401 



The Tower of the Cathedral and part of the Cathedral Square, Utrecht, 
as seen from the west, from a wash drawing in black ink by J. de 
Beyer, 1 746 Page iv 

Boswell's Inviolable Plan, drawn up at Utrecht, 16 October 1763 

Facing page 47 

Belle de Zuylen (Zelide) about 1766, from a drawing by Maurice 
Qucntin de La Tour Facing page 292 

A map of Holland at the time of Boswell's visit, locating many of the 
places mentioned. Redrawn by Harold K. Faye, from a map by Robert 
de Vaugondy in his Atlas Universel, 1757 Pages ii-iii 



The editor of a popular or "reading" edition of Bos well's journal is 
faced at the start by an inevitable but none the less painful deci- 
sion: he must harden his heart to the appeal of the subsidiary docu- 
ments. They are rich and complicated. Besides a fully written 
journal for a given period, there may also be a parallel set of memo- 
randa or diary notes, many news-letters by Boswell and many 
letters received by him which duplicate or supplement the journal, 
and a host of other intimate papers too various to characterize by a 
single title. For example, had the London Journal of 1762-1763 
never been recovered, it would have been possible to construct a 
highly readable substitute of at leas-t equal length from Bos well's 
daily memoranda and his letters. But no editor with a sense of liter- 
ary values would in a reading edition have relaxed the artful ten- 
sion of the London Journal by thrusting other documents into it, 
even though those documents in themselves might make fascinat- 
ing reading; nor would he print a second parallel volume as a sort 
of gigantic commentary on the London Journal. In a research edi- 
tion, an edition intended not to be read but to be studied, a place for 
all these papers can and will be found, but in a true reading edition 
the most that an editor can do is to present selected snippets from 
them in the footnotes; and he must watch himself sternly to see that 
he does not overdo even that. And he will feel unhappy about his 
exclusions, for these subsidiary papers always contain entertaining 
matter and sometimes are more revealing than the journal itself. 

In the case of the present volume, an accident otherwise to be 
deplored has provided an opportunity for exploiting the other 
papers. The London Journal ends with the entry for 4 August 1 763. 
Boswell continued the record in the same ambitious style during 


xii Introduction 

the whole of his stay in Holland, where he went directly from 
London, but this Dutch journal was lost in his own lifetime. When 
he left Utrecht in the following June, he packed up many of his 
papers, including the journal, and left the lot with his friend, the 
Reverend Robert Brown, to be sent to him in Scotland after his re- 
turn from his travels. Mr. Brown appears to have entrusted the par- 
cel to a young Army officer, who perhaps carried it as far as London 
in his cloak-bag. But when the papers arrived at Auchinleck, the 
seat of the Boswells, the Dutch journal was missing, and earnest 
appeals for a search which Boswell made to Mr. Brown and others 
failed to retrieve it. One hesitates, after the casual recovery of a 
mass of Boswell's letters to Temple in a shop at Boulogne, where 
they were being used as wrappers for small purchases, to say that 
any manuscript of Boswell's especially a large carefully written 
quarto manuscript of over five hundred pages is lost beyond re- 
call, but at least Boswell himself finally gave up the Dutch journal 
and nothing has been heard of it since. 

There still remain, however, bales of intimate records for re- 
constructing his life in Holland. He continued the practice he had 
begun in London of addressing a memorandum to himself each 
morning before he put on his clothes, and these memoranda are 
more trustworthy substitutes for the journal than the London series 
because he soon fell into the habit of reviewing the events of the 
preceding day before setting down his counsels for the day ahead. 
As an exercise in learning French, he wrote a page or two in that 
language every day. A similar lot of exercises in Dutch has recently 
been recovered. In order to acquire greater ease and speed in 
English composition, he also set himself the task of writing daily 
ten lines of heroic verse. Themes and verses were written rapidly 
on the first topics that came into his head; and the first topic that 
came into Boswell's head was likely to be Boswell. He kept a regis- 
ter of letters sent and received, a general expense account, and a 
special account of sums won and lost at cards. And, finally, a sur- 
prisingly large number of the letters which he received and wrote 
have now come to hand, including several to his confidants, John 

Introduction fciii 

Johnston and William Johnson Temple, giving long and detailed 
reports of his activities. 

The volume that follows is for the greater part a substitute for 
the lost journal, made by fitting together in chronological sequence 
selections from these miscellaneous papers. As a sequel the reader 
is then given the entire correspondence between Boswell and the 
most remarkable person he met in Holland: Isabella van Tuyll 
(Belle de Zuylcii, also known as "Zelide"). This correspondence, 
which began just as he was leaving Holland and continued inter- 
mittently for the next four years, may safely be called one of the 
oddest series of love letters ever written. 1 

"Substitute" suggests inferiority; and of course there can be no 
question of the literary superiority of BoswelFs fully written jour- 
nal to his memoranda, his verses, and to most of his letters. But it 
should be noted that his language exercises, for the very reason that 
the subject was not considered important, sometimes have an 
ebullience, a gaiety, an inconsequential conversational charm that 
he never achieved in the formal essays he later wrote; that some of 
his letters here printed are up to his best standard of writing; and 
that Belle de Zuylen's are masterpieces of epistolary art. And there 
are various kinds of superiority. The printing in Life and Reader's 
Digest of a history of the Boswell Papers, and the presentation by 
the B.B.C. of an hour's broadcast on the same subject, indicate the 
extent of popular interest in what I may venture to call the Boswell 
saga. And the response to the publication of BoswelVs London Jour- 
nal, i 762-1 7 3 shows that this interest is not confined to the saga, 
not excited merely by a detective mystery. Hundreds of thousands 
of people have testified an inclination to read the Boswell Papers. 
Now, it is quite certain that the present volume gives a much better 
general impression of what the collection is like than any single 
journal can; gives the reader as fully as it is possible to give him 
through the medium of print the feelings the editor himself had in 
1 It has been given its own special Introduction, p. 293. 

xiv Introduction 

exploring the papers for the first time. The reader may imagine 
that he is handling the papers themselves: that I have merely 
stacked them in chronological order for him, and have given him a 
pair of spectacles that make the most crabbed hand legible and un- 
familiar languages intelligible. If I continue to stand at his elbow, 
it is only to answer questions. 


There is another kind of superiority, too, and it is important. 
When Dr. Johnson said that it was the biographical part of litera- 
ture that he loved most, he was not restricting himself to biog- 
raphies of high literary excellence. He meant that he loved facts 
about human nature as revealed in almost any kind of intelligible 
account. If a reader's main interest in the Boswell Papers is bio- 
graphical revelation, if he wants to know human nature by explor- 
ing the mind of James Boswell, he will find the memoranda of this 
volume more rewarding than any fully written journal. They show 
Boswell physically and mentally in undress. They are utterly 
private documents: in them Boswell, addressing himself, withholds 
nothing and exaggerates nothing. 

"Pray, pray be retenu" "Be quite retenu, pious and careful. 
Amen." "You was a little irregular yesterday, but it was but for one 
day to see the Utrecht concert. You don't like it, and you're not to 
go any more." "You did charmingly yesterday. You attended well 
to everything." "You have struggled, you have conquered." "Be 
prudent and retenu. Never aim at being too brilliant. Be rather an 
amiable, pretty man. Have no affectation. Cure vanity." "Let not 
Satan tempt you as Cupid." "Write to Temple of Veuve. Separate 
fiery passion. Tip her valet." "Oh, affect not passion and oddity!" 
"You was so bad as really to think of despairing." "You was dire- 
fully melancholy and had the last and most dreadful thoughts. You 
came home and prayed." "Confused and changed and desperate." 
"Dreadful." "Gloomy." "Bad." "Very bad. You got up dreary as a 
dromedary." "You awaked shocked, having dreamt you was con- 
demned to be hanged." "Desperate. This day, Easter, rouse. Be 

Introduction ** 

Johnson. You've done no harm, Be retenu, &c. What am I?" "You 
went out to fields, and in view of the tower, drew your sword glit- 
tering in the sun, and on your knee swore that if there is a Fatality, 
then that was also ordained; but if you had free will, as you be- 
lieved, you swore and called the Great G to witness that, although 
you're melancholy, you'll stand it ..." 


"Boswell kept his good resolutions by writing them down, and 
redressed his backslidings by copying them out," says Geoffrey 
Scott, a witty and not unfair summary of Boswell's life as a whole 
but one that should not have been applied to the Utrecht period. 
Boswell, who liked to buttress his resolution by times and seasons, 
had resolved that he would reform on the day he left England for 
Holland. He did. For ten months in Holland he was by heroic effort 
modest, studious, frugal, reserved, and chaste. And he almost went 
out of his mind. 

The miscellaneous papers of the Utrecht period furnish per- 
haps the best materials extant for a study of Boswell's melancholy. 
It was not, as has been carelessly and cruelly assumed, an affecta- 
tion, an attempt to imitate Johnson. No one who has read the fol- 
lowing pages can believe that for a moment. They are of course not 
all gloomy. But when they are, they are the record of a soul in tor- 
ment: groaning, wailing, repining, but also of a soul struggling 
and resisting with every resource in its power. The fact is that 
Boswell had been subject to fits of depression long before he met 
Johnson, from his early boyhood. 

He was the kind of neurasthenic who gets no sympathy from 
other people because he seems so healthy. His physical machine 
was extremely robust and, until he was past middle age, would 
stand any amount of punishment. As a matter of fact, he found on 
numerous occasions that he could dispel his gloom by sitting up 
late or not going to bed at all. What made him at times so desper- 
ately unhappy was not the weather, was not lack of exercise, was 
not acrimonious juices and lax solids (the diagnosis he obtained 

xvi Introduction 

from a Dutch physician) , was not idleness, was not drinking, was 
not remorse of conscience. It was frustration: frustration of his 
overweening ambition by any course of life, whether idle or 
methodically industrious, which did not promise to make him a 
Great Man soon; frustration of his powerful urges to pleasure by 
monotony, by unexciting routine. Be good, be prudent, be sober, be 
reserved, be industrious, and you will be happy, said his father; and 
he copied it down and said it over and over to himself. But suppose 
you gave the formula a good hard try and it didn't work? Suppose 
you toiled and prayed and hung on by your teeth, and life only got 
blacker and blacker until you woke in the morning out of dreams 
that you were about to be hanged or that you were actually suffer- 
ing the agonies of death? Johnson gave short shrift to Boswell's plea 
that because he was unhappy when he did his duty he ought to be 
granted a dispensation; life, Johnson had long since concluded, was 
a state in which much is to be endured and little to be enjoyed. But 
knowing that Boswell bore a very heavy burden, he granted him 
unfailing charity. 

The sudden emergence from gloom, the glorious exaltation 
that one sees at the end of the Utrecht period, is as characteristic as 
the gloom itself. Boswell never needed a period of convalescence. 
Make him somehow a Great Man, send him upon a jaunt in which 
he can experience change, excitement, constant agitation, and you 
restore him as by a magic infusion. And he will never get so tired 
and inelastic that the formula will not work. 

The manuscripts from which this book has been compiled are 
as follows: 

i. Memoranda and Notes for Journal in Holland, 10 August 
1763 to 17 June 1764, 157 unpaged octavo leaves, roughly 7 by 
4 inches, unbound, nearly all written on both sides. BoswelPs 
usual procedure is to fill exactly one page per day. In the manu- 
script as we now have it, there are no entries for 1 7 April, 30 April, 
and i May 1764, and none for a number of days at the beginning, 

Introduction xvii 

earlier than 15 September 1763; otherwise there is an entry for 
every day. Many passages are in French. 

2. Journal in Holland, 24 May to 18 June 1764, 32 quarto 
pages, numbered by Boswell 537-568, roughly 9 by 7^ inches, 
unbound. Some passages are in French. This portion of the Dutch 
Journal survives because Boswell wrote it up after he left Utrecht 
(Seep. 258.) 

3. French Themes, 232 quarto pages, roughly 9 by 7 inches, 
unbound. Entirely in French. Only a few of these themes are 
dated or certainly datable, but since we know that BoswelTs 
practice was to write one or two pages every day, including 
Sunday, it is possible to set up for most of the series a chronology 
that cannot be far out of the way. 

4. Dutch Themes, 20 quarto pages, roughly 8 by 6 inches, un- 
bound. The first theme is dated i February 1 764, and some of the 
others are certainly assignable to that month. It is impossible to 
tell whether we have all that Boswell wrote or not; the f at that the 
last theme is incomplete is not decisive. (See p. 79.) Entirely in 

5. Ten-Lines-a-Day Verses. Dated from 25 September 1763 to 
16 April 1764 with no gap save for 29 February 1764. (See p. 171.) 
34 unpaged quarto leaves, unbound, written on both sides, 9 by 7^ 

6. Upwards of fifty letters sent by Boswell or received by him 
between 6 August 1763 and 18 June 1764, and over thirty letters 
of later date in, or connected with, the correspondence with Belle 
de Zuylen. The letters received by Boswell are of course originals, 
as are also the letters from Boswell to Johnston and Boswell to 
Temple. (He retrieved his letters to Johnston from Johnston's 
executor after Johnston's death; of the letters to Temple he had 
asked back all those that he wrote from the Continent, intending 
to use them as materials for a book of travels.) One of his letters in 
the Zelide correspondence now at Yale is an original, and one 
other in that correspondence is printed from an original not at 
Yale. (See pp. 307, 342.) The rest are copies made by Boswell, 

xviii Introduction 

Many of the letters are in French. There is at Yale a Register of 
Letters sent and received during the Utrecht period. It is not com- 
plete and not entirely accurate, but is often very useful for fixing 
dates and indicating lost letters. 

7. Miscellaneous manuscripts: dialogues at The Hague, ad- 
dresses made at the Literary Society at Utrecht, expense account, 
special account of sums won and lost at cards, "portraits" by Belle 
de Zuylen, &c., &c. These are generally in French. 

A relatively small amount of this matter was printed by the 
late Geoffrey Scott in Colonel Isham's privately printed edition of 
the Boswell Papers, but the greater part of the contents of this vol- 
ume now appears for the first time. If completely printed, the docu- 
ments would fill at least three volumes the size of this. The reader 
should not suppose that marks of omission indicate a policy of 
bowdlerization. My object has been, within the covers of a single 
volume, to present a complete continuous account of Boswell's 
life in Holland, and also to give a wholly representative selec- 
tion from the materials, so far as that is reconcilable with a policy 
of pleasant and fairly rapid reading. My omissions have been made 
to remove banality and excessive repetition (some repetition is 
essential to the plan) , and to focus the narrative by the elimination 
of minor personages, casual happenings, and trivial obscurities. 

The spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been re- 
duced to accepted modern norms, and abbreviations and contrac- 
tions have been expanded at will. All quotations in the Introduc- 
tions and notes, whether from Boswell or other sources, have been 
standardized in the same fashion. 2 The texts have been broken into 
2 The standard of spelling for all but proper names is The Concise Oxford 
Dictionary (English) and Kramers' Engels Woordenboek (Dutch). For 
Dutch place-names the English edition of Baedeker has been followed. Dutch 
personal names have been brought into conformity with the standard Dutch 
biographical dictionaries, except that the English convention of y for ij and 
sometimes ck for k are retained: "Sommelsdyck" rather than "Sommelsdijk." 
For English and Scots names appeal has been made to The Dictionary of Na- 
tional Biography, Mrs. Margaret Stuart's Scottish Family History, G. E. 
Cokayne's Complete Peerage and Complete Baronetage, Sir James Balfour 
Paul's Scots Peerage, and various other special books of reference. 

Introduction ** x 

paragraphs where such breaks make for easier reading. A few clear 
inadvertencies have been put right without notice. Square brackets 
indicate words added by the editor where the manuscript shows no 
defect and where there is no reason to suspect inadvertency on the 
part of the writer; angular brackets indicate reconstructions by the 
editor of words lost through defects in the manuscripts (usually 
holes in letters made by breaking the seal) , where the reconstruc- 
tion is not entirely certain. As in Boswell 9 s London Journal, 1762- 
1763, the notes have been numbered in recurring series of nine, 
disregarding pages and dates. This device avoids the unattractive 
typography which results from the use of double reference figures 
in the text, and eliminates the extensive resetting (every line of text 
that bears a footnote reference and the first line of every footnote) 
that is required in linotype composition if the notes must begin a 
fresh series with each page. Such resetting is expensive, but the 
stronger objection to it is that it always invites errors. 

Documents in foreign languages have generally been given in 
English translation only. In the case of BoswelFs French, this is a 
clear gain. Though he became fluent in French, he never became 
really idiomatic or even accurate in that language; and if one sub- 
stitutes the literal English equivalents, the result is generally good 
Boswellian English. Belle de Zuylen's writings are a different 
matter; but one's regret at losing her exquisite French is lessened 
by the fact that the majority of the versions of her letters here 
printed are by Geoffrey Scott, and have been thought by exacting 
critics to be about as accomplished as the originals. The French 
texts of all but one of her letters to Boswell have been printed and 
can be found in the second volume of Colonel Isham's privately 
printed edition of the Boswell Papers; I provide the French text of 
the one new letter in an appendix to the present volume. To serve as 
a sample of the whole, I have also given in an appendix the com- 
plete French text of one of Boswell's themes written near the end 
of his stay at Utrecht. The projected research edition of the Boswell 
Papers (see p. vi) will of course give all these documents in the 
language in which they were written. 

xx Introduction 


Because of the experimental nature of this volume, I have asked 
and received an unusual amount of assistance from the other mem- 
bers of the Editorial Committee. The general plan and the me- 
chanics of arrangement were worked out in conference, and all the 
members later read the completed copy for the printer and helped 
me reduce it to manageable length. Mr. Liebert provided the artist 
with the materials for the map, and he and Professor Hilles read 
the proofs. Our Advisory Committee is so widely scattered that it is 
not possible to take the advice of all its members in laying out each 
volume. Some members are consulted very actively during the 
preparation of each volume in the matters in which they possess 
expert knowledge, and all members are requested to review the 
books as they appear and to give us their counsel concerning gen- 
eral policies to be followed in succeeding ones. Consequently, 
though it may be assumed that we follow what we believe to be the 
majority opinion of the Committee, no single member of it can be 
held in any way responsible for our decisions. Dr. Breuning read 
the entire book carefully in typescript, furnished us with the 
charming sketch which appears as our frontispiece, and gave in- 
valuable assistance in explaining local allusions. I also return my 
grateful acknowledgments to Professor Peyre, Dr. Powell, Mr. 
Roberts, and Dr. Simpson, all of whom read the proofs and sent me 
corrections and additions. Professor Peyre has besides put me 
deeply in his debt by allowing me to refer to his judgment my 
translations of many passages in the French. 

The surviving fragment of Boswell's Dutch Journal, the In- 
violable Plan, all but one of the letters between Boswell and Belle 
de Zuylen, and three others of the letters in this volume were 
printed by Geoffrey Scott in 1928. The long and difficult manu- 
script containing the Memoranda in Holland was first transcribed 
and annotated twenty years ago as a class exercise by Dr. Hale 
Sturges, then a student in the Yale Graduate School. In the same 
class, Professor Joseph Foladare reviewed Scott's text of the Dutch 

Introduction xxi 

Journal and collected annotation for it. Dr. Charles H. Bennett 
then reviewed both texts, and made large additions to the annota- 
tion of the Memoranda. I have had these unpublished stores to 
draw upon in preparing the present volume, as well as a spirited 
translation of the French Themes made for Colonel Isham in 1927 
by the late Professor Elizabeth W. Manwaring. To all of them I 
record my deep obligation. Dr. Bennett has also read the proofs. 

To the following I acknowledge indebtedness for help with 
particular problems which I wish I had room to specify: Professor 
Jean Boorsch, Professor Franklin Edgerton, Professor Curt von 
Faber du Faur, Dr. George L. Lam, Dr. C. A. Malcolm, Professor 
Georges C. May, Professor Edmund T. Silk, Mr. Alastair Smart, and 
Mrs. Anne W. Van Lonkhuyzen. Finally, I tender my warm thanks 
to all the members of the office staff of the Yale Editions of the 
Private Papers of James Boswell during the last year: Paul Brodt- 
korb, '52, Mrs. Shirley Cochrane, Mrs. Lucyanna Fitzgerald, Mrs. 
Louise W. Hine, Mrs. Mary Jane Hook, Mrs. Marion S. Pottle, 
Joseph W. Reed, '54, Dr. Marshall Waingrow, Mrs. Patricia B. 
Wells, and Thomas M. Woodson, '53. Dr. Waingrow has laboured 
to insure the accuracy of the text in all its stages, has collected 
materials for annotation, and is mainly responsible for the index. 

F. A. P. 

Yale University, New Haven 
18 January 1952 

Une personne sensee qui lirait nos lettres ne vous trou- 
verait peut-etre pas trop raisonnable, mais pour moi 9 
je ne ueux pas gener mon ami: tout ce que sa singularity 
voudra me dire sera bien refu. Uimagination est si folle 
que quand on se permet de dire tout ce qu'elle dicte > il 
faut bien dire des folies. Et quel mal a cela? Je n'en vois 


in ioan, 1763-1764. 

SKETCH OF BOSWELL'S LIFE TO AUGUST, 1763. James Boswell was 
the eldest son of Alexander Boswell, a Scottish judge who took the 
style Lord Auchinleck from the family estate in Ayrshire. A bash- 
ful, studious, puritanical boy up to the age of eighteen, he became 
suddenly robust and restless, took to frequenting the theatre and 
mooning after actresses, and then horrified his father by running 
away to London and making his submission to the Roman Catholic 
Church. Lord Eglinton, an Ayrshire neighbour of Lord Auchin- 
leck's living in London, salvaged him from Romanism by making 
him a Deist and a rake, and suggested to him that a good way to 
obtain perpetual London residence (which was what young Bos- 
well now desired above everything else in the world) would be to 
secure a commission in His Majesty's Foot Guards. Lord Auchin- 
leck, who wished him to follow the law, flatly refused to purchase 
him a commission in the Guards, but after two unhappy years of 
struggling with him, agreed to let him go up to London again to see 
if he could obtain a commission through influence. BoswelPs ex- 
tended account of this period of residence in London, long believed 
to have been lost, was discovered by Professor C. Colleer Abbott at 
Fettercairn House in 1930 and was first published towards the end 
of i960. 1 - It is a remarkable study of the mind of a young man 
trying to free himself from parental domination and at the same 
time struggling to define to himself the implications of an unusual 
literary gift. 

Boswell had gone up to London hoping to transform himself 
from a raw and romping boy into a high-bred man of pleasure, a 

^BoswelVs London Journal, 1762-1763, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. 
(New York), and William Heinemann, Ltd. (London), 1950. 

2 Sketch of BosweWs Life to August 1763 

combination of Addison, Steele, and West Digges, an actor famous 
for his impersonation of Macheath in The Beggar's Opera. Though 
he had the liveliest sense of piety and was strict in attendance at 
divine service, he prided himself on his intrigues with actresses and 
women of fashion, and in his frequent street affairs was ashamed 
rather of the grossness of his debauchery than of its immorality. 
But on 16 May 1763 he met Samuel Johnson, whose writings he 
had long admired; and though the meeting made no great im- 
mediate impression on him, his continuing association with John- 
son caused him soon after to develop a bad conscience about these 
affairs. He opened his heart to Johnson, was strengthened in his re- 
ligious faith, and got Johnson to outline a plan of regular study for 
him. The quest for a commission having proved futile, as Lord 
Auchinleck had predicted it would, he finally gave in to his father 
and consented to apply himself to the law. It was agreed that he 
should spend one winter in study at Utrecht, and that he should 
then be allowed to visit Paris and some of the German courts. 

Johnson, who had become very fond of him, made a two-days' 
journey with him to Harwich to see him off. "My revered friend," 
says Boswell in The Life of Johnson, "walked down with me to the 
beach, where we embraced and parted with tenderness, and en- 
gaged to correspond by letters. I said, 'I hope, Sir, you will not for- 
get me in my absence.' JOHNSON. 'Nay, Sir, it is more likely you 
should forget me than that I should forget you.' As the vessel put 
out to sea, I kept my eyes upon him for a considerable time while 
he remained rolling his majestic frame in his usual manner; and at 
last I perceived him walk back into the town, and he disappeared." 
That majestic frame and that revered voice, save for recollection, 
were to be absent from Boswell's journal for two years and a half. 

The selection of Utrecht as the place for Boswell's legal educa- 
tion had nothing odd or unusual about it. Scots law, a totally differ- 
ent system from the English, makes a great deal of Roman law; and 
as the Dutch were the great masters of Roman law, it was usual for 
young men preparing for the Scots bar to complete their education 
in Holland. Boswell's father and grandfather (also a lawyer) had 

Sketch of BoswelVs Life to August 1763 3 

studied at Leyden; Utrecht had been selected for Boswell on the ad- 
vice of Sir David Dalrymple, a common friend to Boswell and his 
father and a mediator of their differences. Though the main ob- 
jective was the law, it was hoped that he might also improve him- 
self generally in culture and in manners; and for this purpose 
Utrecht was thought to offer advantages over Leyden. 

Since at least his seventeenth year, Boswell had been subject to 
recurring fits of intense depression; and he left England with 
gloomy forebodings. One of the few hopeful features of the situa- 
tion so far as he was concerned was that he had relatives in Holland. 
Lord Auchinlcck's grandmother, Veronica, Countess of Kincardine, 
was a Dutch lady of the noble family of Sommelsdyck, and the 
representative of the family (Lord Auchinlcck's second cousin) 
still lived at The Hague. 

From this point on, a selection from the documents themselves 
may be allowed to tell the story. 2 

MONDAY i AUGUST 1763 [London] ... Resolve now study 
in earnest. Consider you're not to be so much a student as a travel- 
ler. Be a liberal student. Learn to be reserved. Keep your melan- 
choly to yourself, and you'll easily conceal your joy. . . . Prepare 
like Father. . . . Mark this and keep in pocket. You are not to con- 
sider yourself alone. You have a worthy father whose happiness 
depends on your behaving so as at least to give no offence, and there 
is a prudent way to save appearances. Be reserved and calm, and 
sustain a consistent character. It will please you when high, and 
when low it will be a sure comfort, though all things seem trifling; 
and when high again, 'twill delight. So when you return to 
Auchinleck, you'll have dignity. . . . 

TUESDAY 2 AUGUST. . . . Bring up journal. Be with Johnson 
at two and dress at three. Give out linens, and pack up, and be 
2 See pp. x, xiv for a detailed description of the various kinds of documents 
used, and a statement of the editorial method followed. 

4 2 August 1763 

placid, and get into grave humour for journey, and write out in- 
structions, &c. 

[UNDATED MEMORANDUM] Set out for Harwich like Father, 
grave and comfortable, Be alert all along, yet composed. Speak 
little, make no intimates. Be in earnest to improve. It is not you 
alone concerned, but your worthy father. Be reserved in grief, 
you'll be so in joy. Go abroad with a manly resolution to improve, 
and correspond with Johnson. Be grateful to him. See to 3 attain 
a fixed and consistent character, to have dignity. Never despair. 
Remember Johnson's precepts on experience of mankind. Con- 
sider there is truth. Consider that when you come home with a 
settled composure you will enjoy life much, without exhausting 
spirits and setting yourself up as a buffoon or a jolly dog. Study 
[to be] like Lord Chesterfield, manly. You're your own master 
quite. . . . 

[Receipt for passage to Holland] 

Harwich, 6 August 1763 

Receive on board the Prince of Wales packet-boat Mr. Boswell. 
Whole JAS. :::::: : 

FRIDAY 12 AUGUST [Leyden] 5 . . . Don't smoke any more, 
because it makes you sick and a foreigner need not do it. ... 

[Events of 6-15 August, Boswell to John Johnston of Grange] 6 

Utrecht, 23 September 1763 

MY DEAR JOHNSTON, I find myself at a loss how to begin this 
letter. As it is my first to you from a foreign country, I should 
3 "Take care to." 

*The signature (presumably that of the purser) is large, handsome, and 
illegible. "Whole" probably means that Boswell had a room to himself. 
6 The memorandum for this day was written entirely in French. 
6 John Johnston, laird of a small property in Dumfriesshire, a young man of 
about BoswelTs own age, was a "writer" (solicitor or attorney) in Edinburgh. 
Since their first meeting in 1755 in a class in Greek at the University of Edin- 

6-15 August 1763 5 

perhaps break off 7 with a pompous exordium; but a pompous 
exordium will not offer me its services. Perhaps, too, I should begin 
with an apology for not writing sooner; but this I imagine you 
will own is hardly necessary after you have read this page. I am 
now fairly begun, and shall say no more on the subject. I shall 
give you my history since I set out from London as well as I can. 
I tell you beforehand that it is strange and affecting; so do not 
be suddenly shocked. 

I set out upon my travels with a kind of gloom upon my mind. 
My enthusiastic love of London made me leave it with a heavy 
heart. It might not have been the case had I been setting out on 
an immediate tour through the gay regions of Italy and France. 
But to comply with my father's inclinations I had agreed to pass 
my first winter at Utrecht, a Dutch university town of which I 
had received the most disagreeable prepossessions. Mr. Samuel 
Johnson honoured me with his company to Harwich, where he 
saw me embark and set sail from Britain. I was sick and filled with 
a crowd of different ideas. But we had a good passage, and landed 
on Sunday the 7 of August, at twelve at noon. I shall not be tedious 
with particulars, but give you the great lines of my story. I went 
to Rotterdam, where I met with Mr. Archibald Stewart (Sir 
Michael's youngest son) , who is settled a merchant there. I was 
not much acquainted with him. But he insisted that I should stay 
in his house, where I met with every civility. 8 Novelties enter- 

burgh, Boswell and Johnston had been inseparable; indeed, though Boswell 
called William Johnson Temple (see below) his most intimate friend, he had, 
up to the spring of 1763, seen more of Johnston, and had leaned more heavily 
on him. He had written the London journal of 1762-1763 for Johnston's 
perusal, forwarding it to him by post in weekly parcels. During his last 
month in England he had written him no fewer than sixteen letters. The 
present letter to Johnston was written more than a month later than the letter 
to Temple which follows it, but has been chosen to open the scries because it 
gives a fuller account of Boswell's misery during the first ten days of his 
residence in Holland than does the letter to Temple. 

7 "Start," "open": a usage now obsolete. 

8 Stewart was a young man of Boswell's own age or even younger, his father 

6 6-i$ August 

tained me for a day or two, and then I went to Leyden and passed 
some days. I began to turn low-spirited, and set out for Utrecht. I 
travelled between Leyden and Utrecht nine hours in a sluggish 
trek schuit 9 without any companion, so that I brooded over my 
own Dismal imaginations. I arrived at Utrecht on a Saturday 
evening. I went to the Nouveau Chateau d'Anvers. 1 I was shown 
up to a high bedroom with old furniture, where I had to sit and be 
fed by myself. At every hour the bells of the great tower 2 played a 
dreary psalm tune. A deep melancholy seized upon me. I groaned 
with the idea of living all winter in so shocking a place. I thought 
myself old and wretched and forlorn. I was worse and worse 
next day. All the horrid ideas that you can imagine, recurred 
upon me. I was quite unemployed and had not a soul to speak to 
but the clerk of the English meeting, 3 who could do me no good. 
I sunk quite into despair. I thought that at length the time was 
come that I should grow mad. I actually believed myself so. I 
went out to the streets, and even in public could not refrain from 
groaning and weeping bitterly. I said always, "Poor Boswell! is 
it come to this? Miserable wretch that I am! what shall I do?" 

my friend, pause here a little and figure to yourself what I en- 

a Scots baronet (Stewart of Blackball) and member of the Scots bar. He had 
acquired an unenviable reputation for raking and extravagance, and had 
been exiled to redeem himself as a man of business. A gay, cheerful, and gen- 
erous soul, he gave Boswell help at a time when he needed it desperately. 
9 "The usual way of travelling in ... most parts of the United Provinces 
... is in trek schuits, or draw-boats, which are large covered boats, not un- 
like the barges of the livery companies of London, drawn by a horse at the 
rate of three miles an hour" (Thomas Nugent, The Grand Tour, $d ed., 1778, 

1 "The Castle of Antwerp" (Het Kasteel van Antwerpen), a hotel which ex- 
isted on the same spot until 1950. 

2 The lofty tower of the mediaeval cathedral. The nave had collapsed in the 
seventeenth century, leaving the tower standing alone. See the frontispiece to 
this volume. 

3 That is, of the English-speaking (Presbyterian) church. His name was 
Carron; his father was French and his mother English. Boswell later en- 
gaged him as French teacher. 

0-15 august 1703 7 

dured. I took general speculative views of things; all seemed full 
of darkness and woe. Tortured in this manner, I determined to 
leave Utrecht, and next day returned to Rotterdam in a condition 
that I shudder to recollect 4 

[Boswell to William Johnson Temple] 5 

Rotterdam, 16 August 1763 

MY DEAREST TEMPLE, Expect not in this letter to hear of any- 
thing but the misery of your poor friend. I have been melancholy 
to the most shocking and most tormenting degree. You know the 
weakness and gloominess of my mind, and you dreaded that this 
would be the case. I have been at Leyden; from thence I went to 
Utrecht, which I found to be a most dismal place. I was there 
entirely by myself and had nobody to speak to. I lived in an inn. 
I sunk altogether. My mind was filled with the blackest ideas, 
and all my powers of reason forsook me. Would you believe it? 
I ran frantic up and down the streets, crying out, bursting into 
tears, and groaning from my innermost heart. good GOD! what 
have I endured! my friend, how much was I to be pitied! What 
could I do? I had no inclination for anything. All things appeared 
good for nothing, all dreary. I thought I should never recover, and 
that now the time was come when I should really go mad. I could 
not wait on Count Nassau. I sent him Sir David Dalrymple's 
letter, said I was obliged to go to Rotterdam upon business of im- 
portance, and did not know if I should return. 

1 Other portions of this lottoi follow on pp. 10, 18, and 30. 
r > William Johnson Temple, an Englishman from Berwick-on-Tweod, had 
met Boswell in 1755 in that same Greek class of which John Johnston had 
been a member. The common passions of Johnston and Boswell were Scottish 
scenery and antiquities, of Temple and Boswell, literature and religion. 
Temple had gone to Cambridge to study law and had kept chambers in the 
Inner Temple, London, where Boswell had seen a good deal of him in the 
preceding spring and summer. When Temple returned to Cambridge in July, 
1763, to qualify for holy orders, Boswell had moved into his chambers. 
6 The chief magistrate (Iloofdschout) of Utrecht. 

8 16 August 1763 

I set out yesterday at twelve o'clock and came here at night 
to the house of Mr. Archibald Stewart, the gentleman whom 
Nicholls 7 spoke of. He is a very fine fellow. Though volatile, he 
has good sense and generosity. I told him my miserable situation 
and begged his assistance as the most unfortunate of mortals. He 
was very kind, took me to his house, talked with me, endeavoured 
to amuse me, and contrived schemes for me to follow. 

I am distracted with a thousand ideas. The pain which this af- 
fair will give my worthy father shocks me in the most severe degree. 
And yet, alas! what can I do? But perhaps I should have endured 
the utmost torment rather than have left Utrecht. But how can a 
man endure anything when his mind is quite ruined? My mind 
is just as if it were in a mortification. Temple! all my resolutions 
of attaining a consistent character are blown to the winds. All my 
hopes of being a man of respect are gone. I would give a thousand 
worlds to have only mere ease. I look back on the days I passed in 
the Temple with you as on days of the highest satisfaction. And 
yet, my friend, I cannot but remember that even then we passed 
many a weary hour. But was not that owing to ourselves? Was it 
not because we were idle and allowed time to lie heavy on our 
hands? Alas, what can I do? I cannot read. My mind is destroyed 
by dissipation. But is not dissipation better than melancholy? Oh, 
surely, anything is better than this. My dear friend, I am sensible 
that my wretchedness cannot be conceived by one whose mind is 
sound. I am terrified that my father will impute all this to mere 
idleness and love of pleasure. I am not yet determined what to do. 
Sometimes I think I should no more yield to this than to any 
other passion. But, indeed, it forces me to yield. It weighs me down. 
It crushes my spirit. I am filled with shame on account of my weak- 
ness. Shall I not be utterly exposed? Shall I not be utterly con- 

7 Norton Nicholls, common Cambridge friend of W. J. Temple and the poet 
Thomas Gray; one of Gray's favourite correspondents. Bosweli had met him 
in Temple's company on 13 May. 

16 August 1763 9 

I would fain return to London and shelter myself in obscurity. 
Yet I would wish to stay some time abroad. I think I shall go to 
Brussels. It is a gay agreeable place, and may relieve me. I shall 
wait upon Count Byron. 8 1 shall go to the Academy there. But then, 
what will my father say? GOD ALMIGHTY pity me and relieve me, 
for I know not what to think. I sometimes have gleams of ease and 
imagine myself better, and then I resolve to go back to Utrecht 
and brave the distemper. But I fear it would be impossible. Could 
I, who have passed my time in the delicate felicity of London and 
in real spirited life, support a formal Dutch college? My dear 
friend! Perhaps you will sympathize more with me than I imagine. 
Perhaps you will think it was rash in me to agree to go to Utrecht, 
and that after finding it so severe upon me I do right to go to 
Brussels. If my father would but think so, what would I give! 
Perhaps I may go back to Utrecht; perhaps I may go to Leyden. 
But I think I shall first go to Brussels, and perhaps I may grow 
well. Is it possible that I can ever be well again? Shall I ever 
be tolerably happy? 

Dempster 9 is at Paris. I have written to him and begged to see 
him at Brussels. He is humane and knows life well. my friend! 
what shall I do? Write to me to the care of Mr. Archibald Stewart, 
merchant at Rotterdam. Remember me with sincere affection to 
Bob. 1 If Nicholls be with you, present my compliments to him. 
Talk of me as far as you think prudent. I would fain hope that 

8 Not satisfactorily identified, but probably in some way related to Ernst 
Johann, Reichsgraf von Biron, Duke of Kurland (1690-1772), favourite of the 
Empress Anna of Russia and virtual utler of Russia dining her loign. In a 
letter of 31 July 1763 Temple had referred to Count B\ i on as his father's most 
intimate friend; in replying to this letter of BosuolFs IIP said ho thought 
Count Byron was at Vienna. 

Geoigc Dempster, M.P., Scots lawyer and politician, oic,ht years older than 
Boswell, hud for some time been associated with Bosuoll in his publishing 
schemes, and was one of his principal literary companions and cronies. 

1 Temple's younger brother, an Army officer on half-pay. Boswcll had shared 
Temple's chambers in London with him. 

io 16 August 1763 

my mind may yet strengthen. Adieu, my ever dear friend, and 

believe me ever yours, with the most sincere regard, 


Let not this dreadful affair affect you too much. There is no 
real harm done. I may grow well soon. I can now feel how my 
poor brother 2 was afflicted. We cannot hear often from each other. 
Let us endeavour to think of each other, and wait patiently to 
see what time will produce. dear! I am very ill. 

[Events of i6-c. 30 August, Boswell to Johnston, continued] 

Utrecht, 23 September 1763 

. . . Good GOD! what distracted horrors did I now endure! 
Sometimes I thought of going to Berlin, sometimes to Geneva, 
sometimes to Paris; but above all of returning to London and my 
dear calm retreat in the Inner Temple. I recollected that Dempster 
was in Paris. I wrote to him my situation and begged he would 
meet me at Brussels. Irresolute and fickle every hour, I was for 
writing a new letter. Mr. Morgan, a North- American who had just 
taken his degrees in physic at Edinburgh, 3 was making a tour of 
Holland. I agreed to go with him. We went to Gouda, Amsterdam, 
Haarlem, &c. I remembered an advice of yours, and did not go 
but was taken. 4 We then came round by Utrecht, where we stayed 
a day or two. But it still appeared so terrible that I could not stay. 

2 John Boswell, a lieutenant in the Army, had suffered the first of a series of 
attacks of insanity the previous autumn. He was at that time about nineteen 
years old. 

3 John Morgan, M.D., of Philadelphia, founder of the Medical College of the 
University of Pennsylvania and its first professor; Physician-in-Chief of the 
American Army, 1775-1777. In his memorandum of 25 August Boswell calls 
him un fat bonhommc ("a coxcomb"). Morgan's journal of his tour from 
Rome to London, 6 July-3i October 1764, has been published, but his journal 
of his tour in Holland appears to havo boon lost. 

* Johnston had probably advised him to let other people manage for him 
when he was depressed. 

16-30 August 1763 11 

So we returned to Rotterdam. I was now a little better and began 
to think that I might put up at Leyden. In the mean time I got a 
letter from Dempster, who had come from Paris to Brussels, sixty- 
two leagues 5 in thirty hours, a strong proof of his regard for me 
and generosity of soul. It was hard to think that he had set out 
before my letter bidding him write first could reach Paris, and 
so had missed seeing me. I received a letter from Temple imputing 
my miser}' to idleness and beseeching me to act a part worthy of 
a man. . . . 

[Received c. 25 August, George Dempster to Boswcll] 

Grand Miroir, Brussels, Monday 22 August |" 1 763] 
MY DEAR BOSWELL, Judge of my love for you and of the regret 
I feel for your present situation from this circumstance. I received 
both yours at Paris on Saturday at two o'clock afternoon. By five 
I was in my post-chaise, and this morning, Monday, at five o'clock 
of the morning I arrived here, having made a journey of sixty-two 
leagues in thirty hours. I can't tell you how great my disappoint- 
ment is at not finding you according to promise here, It is im- 
possible for me to wait till this brings you, but next post I'll write 
you a long letter to set you on your legs again. Adieu, thou mass 
of sensibility! 6 

[Received c. 26 August, Dempster to Boswell] 

Brussels, Tuesday 23 August 1763 

I AM NOW, MY DEAR FRIEND, in the last hour that it is possible 
for me to wait for you in Brussels, arid I find myself so circum- 
scribed with regard to the time of my being in Scotland that I 
cannot bestow another week in a journey to Amsterdam or Utrecht 
to meet with you. Amidst all my regret for your distress, I cannot 
3 One hundred and eighty-six miles by the eighteenth-century coach route. 
6 The letter ends without a signature. 

12 26 August 1763 

help feeling a little satisfaction on the complete accomplishment 
of my prediction. I told you Oxford was a joke to Utrecht. 7 1 told 
you your worthy friend Sir Davy's sense of gaiety and yours 
would differ; and pray remember I foretold that your fund of 
patience and affectation was too small to bear living among a set of 
Dutch professors in tartan nightgowns, long pipes admirers of 
Voet and of Vinnius, 8 who set a real value on a library of musty 
books, who consider mirth as a shame and rampaging as a sin, 
who neither care how they spend their time or what kind of 
weather it is, provided their sundials, their barometers, and ther- 
mometers indicate properly. Besides, let us add to all this your 
ignorance of their coins and of their language. The brutality and 
phlegm of the inhabitants, the tedious method of transportation 
in track scoots 9 Sir, you may depend upon it, these are sufficient 
to turn the head of a marble statue and to affect the serenity of a 
Lord Auchinleck. 

But after all, my dear Boswell, these ills are either exceedingly 
trifling in themselves or become so by the short time to which you 
will be exposed to them. Consider them as good Christians do mis- 
fortunes, as meant to prepare you for a better life in another 
country. Consider Holland as the dark watery passage which leads 
to an enchanted and a brilliant grotto. For such is a French acad- 
emy; and above all, such will you find Paris on your return 
when you understand the language. . . . 

But Boswell, what is to be done? Can you bear this for a 
couple of months and then go to a French academy to Angers, 
to Metz, to Caen? I am sure you will like that manner of life. In 
the mean time, I should think you might amuse yourself in acquir- 

7 Boswell had made a jaunt to Oxford in the previous April and had been ex- 
tremely gloomy there. See Bos well's London Journal, 1762-1163, 1950, p. 244. 

8 Voet and Vinnius were famous Dutch jurists. "Nightgown" in the eight- 
eenth century meant what would now be called a dressing-gown. 

9 Trek schuits: see p. 6. Dempster's spelling indicates how the words were 
usually pronounced by English travellers. A closer approximation to the 
Dutch pronunciation of schuits is found in the "Brooklyn" pronunciation of 
the English word skirts. 

26 August 1763 13 

ing the French, keeping a journal and writing your friends, and 
debauching a Dutch girl. 

For GOD sake, keep your disgusts secrets. The Dutch are so 
happy in their own dulness that I fear they can make but small al- 
lowance for your dissatisfaction. As you love your father, your 
friends as you love Johnston, Erskine, 1 yourself, and me, don't 
give too much way to your sensibility. Have recourse to our usual 
scepticism. Remember how much all pleasures depend on the 
mind, and then, pray, try to Dutchify your immortal soul. Had I 
been fortunate enough to have met with you, I would have been 
its tailor. I would have dressed it in a short jacket and one hundred 
pair of breeches. I would have taught it silence and smoking. I 
would have reconciled it to dulness and stinking cheese. 

Have you forgot your former objects of ambition? Do you know 
no country in the universe is better worth seeing to a man that has 
political views? Examine their industry, their commerce, the ef- 
fects of frugality, freedom, and good laws. Inquire with regard to 
their methods of levying taxes, in which they surpass all Europe, 
since they neither restrain commerce nor oppress the poor. Observe 
the mixture of the monarchical and republican form of their gov- 
ernment. Inquire which of these principles does, consider which of 
'em ought to predominate. But for heaven sake, no more sallies 
into the street. Rather come over to London and return to your 
former apartments in the Temple. You have done too much to satis- 
fy your father. No mortal can blame you for returning to that 
place which you find fittest from 2 preserving a mens sana in 
corpore sano. Adieu. Pray write to me immediately at London, 
where, however, I shall only remain a very few days. 3 

1 The Honourable Andrew Erskine, younger son of the fifth Earl of Kellie, a 
lieutenant in the Army, had been closely associated in mirth and rampaging 
with Boswell and Dempster since the spring of 1761. He and Boswell had 
published a volume of their own letters to each other in the previous April. 
See BoswelVs London Journal, 1762-1763. 

2 One would expect for, but the manuscript is clear and sense can be made 
with from: "that place which you find fittest from its having preserved ..." 

3 The letter was sent unsigned. 

14 3 August 1 763 

[Received c. 30 August, Temple to Boswell] 

Trinity Hall [Cambridge] 23 August 1763 

MY EVER DEAR FRIEND, I received your very affecting letter, 
and sympathize with you from the bottom of my soul. I sincerely 
pity the unhappy disposition of your mind, and would give the 
world to relieve you. But, my dear Boswell, if you pay any regard 
to your own character, if you have any affection for me, I beg 
you may endeavour to act a part more becoming yourself. Re- 
member your resolutions before we parted, allow reason to re- 
assume her dominion, think of Johnson, and be again a man. 

Recollect what answer you sent me a few days before you left 
England, when I wrote to you in rather an unmanly style. You told 
me I was under the influence of the demon melancholy, and that 
study and reflection would infallibly cure me. I took your advice 
and am well. Allow me in my turn to prescribe the same regimen 
to you (which I have a better right to do, having experienced its 
effects) , and I make no doubt of receiving in a very short time a 
letter very different from your last. 

You may take my word for it that your sole disease is idleness, 
and that when you have once got into any settled way you will 
find yourself as well as ever. You say dissipation has unfitted you 
for study. Read six hours a day but for one week, and on the con- 
trary, you will tell me that study has made a perfect pedant of you 
and spoilt you entirely for jollity and riotous mirth. Here comes in 
again my old doctrine of habit to convince you that you may still 
be whatever you please. To talk of relinquishing all hopes of at- 
taining a consistent character and acquiring a name is unmanly 
and dishonourable. . . . 

But why do I talk to you in this manner? You blame your weak- 
ness as much as I can do, and are solicitous to conquer it. Only 
continue to be so, my dear friend, and all will be well. 

I am not at all surprised at your quick removes from one place 
to another. It is the natural consequence of the present state of 
your mind. However, I would not be long thus, but would certainly 

30 August 1763 15 

return to Utrecht against winter, were it only to oblige my father. 
Though his notions with regard to some things are not perhaps al- 
together right, yet he is a sensible, good man, and has nothing 
more at heart than your welfare. You should gratify him therefore 
a little, even though it might somewhat punish yourself. You know 
our situation here is such that we cannot always do what we would. 
There are many relations and dependencies to which a proper re- 
gard must be paid. A father is a character to which much is due. 
If it be possible, then, endeavour to please him and make him 
happy. I am sure he would not desire you to stay longer than one 
winter at Utrecht 

I am here without a soul in college but my brother and one of 
the dullest doctors in the University. Nicholls left us last week. 

I have had the honour to drink tea twice with Mr. Gray;* once 
at Nicholls's rooms and once at his own. I have also since paid him a 
morning visit, and have met him two or three times at the coffee- 
house. He is very civil, and my idea of his greatness is not at all 
diminished by knowing him. He is the best bred man and the most 
agreeable companion in the world. I long to know him more. 

It gave me much pleasure to find Mr. Johnson accompanied 
you to Harwich. Pray let me know what passed. . . . 

I hope Mr. Dempster will meet you at Brussels. If Count Byron 
be there, you will mention me to him. Probably he is at Vienna. 

Pray let me hear from you very soon, and believe me, my dear 
Boswell, your truly affectionate friend, 


[Boswell to Temple] 

Rotterdam, 2 September 1 763 

MY DEAR TEMPLE, I cannot express the happiness which your 
letter gave me. I had been so bad as to consider myself good for 
nothing and utterly contemptible. I have found now the reverse. 

* Thomas Gray the poet, author of the famous Elegy. He lived in Pembroke 
College, Cambridge. 

i6 2 September 1763 

I wish I could support myself by its recollection in my hours of 


As I imagined Dempster would not come to Brussels without 
first writing to me, I delayed going thither and took a jaunt 
through Holland, and returned to Utrecht, where I received a^ letter 
from Dempster- telling me that he had left Paris immediately on 
receiving my melancholy letter and had taade a journey of sixty- 
two leagues in thirty hours to Brussels, where he was extremely dis- 
appointed not to find me, but could not wait till I should come. Was 
not this a high instance of generosity? I assure you, it flattered me 
much; and I was much vexed to think that he had taken so much 
trouble without seeing me. However, to find his regard so strong 
has done me much good. He has since written me a long letter, in 
which he has given me his advice to stay some time at Utrecht and 
then go to a French academy. But, like a too lenient father-con- 
fessor, he bids me follow my inclinations and allows me to return 
to my chambers in the Inner Temple, as nobody could blame me 
for living where I can have mens sana in corpore sano. This doc- 
trine I could with satisfaction imbibe and put in practice, were I to 
yield to my weakness. 

But your letter, my friend, rouses my spirit. You tell me that 
"my sole disease is idleness"; that you was bad; that you applied 
to study regularly, and are well. I am convinced that you are in 
the right But you must make some allowance for a gloomy cast of 
mind which I unfortunately have. 

I like your mentioning six hours a day. To mark out an exact 
scheme is taking. I am determined to do what you propose. But I 
waver about the place of my residence. At Leyden I shall be within 
three hours of The Hague. I shall have the youngest Prince of 
Strelitz, and Mr. Gordon, Lord Aberdeen's brother, for my com- 
panions. 5 At Utrecht I hear of no agreeable companion. Count 

5 The Prince of Strelitz was a brother of the Queen of England. Both he and 
Gordon were young, he only fifteen and Gordon eighteen. Gordon later be- 
came an officer in the Army. 

2 September 1763 17 

Nassau is a man in years, though very polite. Utrecht has assem- 
blies. But I am told they are most exceedingly dull. Add to this 
the shocking disgust which I have taken to Utrecht. I would there- 
fore incline for Leyden. But, then, I came over with an intention 
to stay at Utrecht; and Sir David Dalrymple would not be pleased 
if I should forsake his favourite place. 

What I am now resolved to do is this. I shall go up to Utrecht 
and stay a week, and force myself to study six hours a day during 
that time. After that, if I find that I still give a strong preference 
to Leyden, I will go thither, and I make no doubt but what my 
father and Sir David will pardon my altering their plan a little. 
My grandfather and father both studied at Leyden. I have a kind of 
innate prejudice in its favour. But, my dear Temple! I am very 
weak and fickle, and am of different minds in the same day. I will 
endeavour to summon up resolution, and yet will make myself a 

I am very happy to hear that you have at last got acquainted 
with Mr. Gray. I hope you will cultivate his friendship and that 
when I return to dear England you will present me to him. Mr. 
Johnson is ever in my thoughts when I can think with any manli- 
ness. I keep an exact journal which I shall send to you when I can 
find proper opportunities. . . . Make my kind compliments to 
Bob. I rejoice to hear such accounts of him. I ever remain yours, 


I am not yet quite myself again. You may observe that I write 
heavily. I sometimes regret that I left England. Would it not have 
been better for me to have stayed in the Temple in winter and in 
Cambridge in summer? I might have formed better into a manly 
character with you and Nicholls and Claxton. 6 GOD bless you all. 
I am a benevolent being. I rejoice at the felicity of others, even 
when distressed myself. Since I am come abroad, I will make the 
best of it. I will resolve to do well. Encourage me from time to time. 

6 Like Nicholls, an intimate Cambridge friend of Temple; a lawyer and an 
antiquary. Temple named his third son John James after Claxton and Boswell. 

i8 2 September 1763 

I am sorry to make you pay postage for so poor a letter. 7 1 hope to 

give you better by and by. Continue to write to Mr. Stewart's care. 

[Events following 30 August, Boswell to Johnston, continued] 

Utrecht, 23 September 1763 

... I met with several papers in The Rambler describing the 
wretchedness of a mind unemployed, a peevish and gloomy fancy 
indulged. I began to think that I had no title to shelter myself from 
blame under the excuse of madness which was perhaps but a sug- 
gestion of idle imagination. I read another of his papers, where he 
talks of patience as the noble duty of a man and of a Christian; and 
he pushes fortitude of mind so far as to doubt if "a mind well 
principled will not be separated before it is subdued." 8 1 was roused 
with so noble an idea of human nature. I met with another paper 
on the power that a man has over his ideas, and how he may harden 
himself against being unhinged by little evils; with another where 
he shows how much happiness is gained by cherishing good hu- 
mour, and with another where he shows that mental employment 
and bodily exercise are absolutely necessary to keep our frame 
easy and well. Thus prepared I resolutely determined to return 
to Utrecht, to fix myself down to a regular plan, and to persist 
with firmness and spirit, and combat the foul fiend. I have done so; 
and thanks to Mr. Johnson, whose precepts (with the favour of GOD, 
to whom I earnestly prayed to assist me) I am quite well. . . , 9 

7 At this time, and for long after, postage was paid not by the sender but by 
the recipient. The rate for a "single" letter (one sheet) from the United 
Provinces was iod.; for a "double" letter, is. 8d., for a "treble" letter, 2s. 6d. 
This was a single letter. 

8 No. 32, "The Art of Bearing Calamities": "I think there is some reason for 
questioning whether the body and mind are not so proportioned that the one 
can bear all that can be inflicted on the other; whether virtue cannot stand 
its -ground as long as life; and whether a soul well principled will not be 
separated sooner than subdued." 

9 Boswell lost track of his construction. 

September 1763 19 

[Dempster to Boswell] 1 

Dundee, 29 October 1763 

DEAR BOSWELL, I thank GOD for your recovery. I am a com- 
plete physician for the spleen, and on the strength and faith of my 
skill, I foretell you will not only soon be well but you never will 
have more trouble from that cause. Spleen is like a bullying boy 
at school: insupportable till he is once heartily thrashed, and for 
ever after your humble servant. It is but six years since I drubbed 
the dog to his contentment, and he has never disturbed me since. 

Make no apologies for bringing me to Brussels. I seldom give 
myself much trouble about any one for whom I would not go 
much farther when much more inconvenient, to assist or relieve. 
Let it be the basis of a solid and durable friendship, which will 
produce much good and a great deal of pleasure and fun. And on 
this last I set a high value. 

Pray indulge your sceptical turn. You are already convinced 
of the insignificancy and uncertainty of things. By scepticism you 
will soon discover that some things are less insignificant and un- 
certain than others. Believe me, dear Boswell, Revelation is non- 
sense. GOD never manifested himself but by his works. Disbelieve 
whatever the clergy have invented to enfeeble and debase mankind 
and to aggrandize themselves. My study is to be perfectly moral 
while I live and indifferent when I die. You can't conceive what 
magnanimity the very pursuit of these objects inspires. Enthu- 
siasm is madness, superstition folly, and faith a farce. 

I only write this to congratulate with you on your recovery, 
and to assure you of my secrecy. Your letters are smoke long ago, 

1 Because of Dempster's departure for London and Scotland, Boswell did not 
write to him for almost two months, and Dempster's reply, though written 
promptly, was delayed by various accidents and did not reach Boswell until 
26 November. In this case it seems better to depart from the usual arrange- 
ment of this volume (which is to print letters to Boswell under the dates on 
which he received them), and to insert Dempster's next letter at this point. 

2O September 1763 

and what they contained as the shadow that leaves no impression. 
When I come to London, I'll write you at more length; nay, per- 
haps indulge you with a dish of politics. Till then, believe me to be, 
with most sincere affection, your DEMPSTER. 

MONDAY 5 SEPTEMBER [Rotterdam] Set out immediately 
with little trunk for wagon to Ter-Gouw, 2 and then take schuit to 
Utrecht with Rambler to read. Be resolute to try one week six 
hours' reading, two walking, &c. Mem. Father's " *od help me," 8 
and try to compose ideas. Act with fortitude. ... Be glad you've 
taken no rash steps. Repress fastidiousness and encourage good 

THURSDAY 8 SEPTEMBER [Utrecht] 4 Breakfast after having 
read Ovid and Tacitus, and wait for the tailor and get first a Leyden 
suit of green and silver. See Frangois and send him to take the 
house and have it furnished; he will find you all sorts of things. 5 
You may have green coverings on your tables and two large 
candles. Go there this evening. Read much and write journal and 
persist in your good plan. 

[Received c. 8 September, Archibald Stewart to Boswell] 

Rotterdam, 7 September [1763] 

DEAR BOSWELL, Though you promised to write me so soon as 
you got to Utrecht, I can easily pardon the neglect, imputing it to 

2 He left his large trunk at Rotterdam "till further orders." 

3 In two other memoranda Boswell counsels himself to remember this remark 
of Lord Auchinleck's, but gives no further details. ("Mem." in these notes 
stands either for "remember" or "memorandum.") 

4 Boswell wrote this memorandum in French except for the last two words. 

5 "Francois" is BoswelTs servant, just engaged. His last name was Mazerac. 
The "house" (Boswell is using the word in the Scots sense of a flat or set of 
rooms) was in an inn called the Cour de 1'Empereur (Keiserhof). A register 
of transfers and mortgages of the city of Utrecht describes this under date of 
28 November 1792 as "a large mansion . . . standing on the Cathedral Square 
opposite the Cathedral tower, having its egress by a certain alley giving on 
the Fishmarket" 

8 September 1 763 2 1 

the Dom, 6 bell, psalm-tune, &c., &c. However, I hope you have ere 
now made yourself master of the town and silenced the dreadful 
bell. 7 Gordon came to me the same day you left this 8 and told me he 
hoped you would "resolve to pess the winter at Leyden. I should," 
said he, "mennege him finely by making him read a little, walk, 
ride, and talk a little." The more I am in company with Gordon the 
less proper I think him for comforting you. Last night Gordon, 
Hay s 9 and I supped together at Mrs. Gennet's, where the two 
former were once or twice at daggers' drawing. If I had not season- 
ably interposed and made up matters, I should certainly have seen 
our friend Hay put his right foot before his left with that grace 
peculiar to himself. 1 More of this at meeting. 

As you have often told me that in the most trifling incidents of 
life you are unwilling to determine without advice, I think it my 
duty as your sincere friend to lay the following plan before you for 
your way of living at Utrecht. Supposing you were to follow 
Dempster's advice to make no more sallies into the streets, you 
ought to rise generally about eight o'clock or a little before it. So 
soon as you have huddled on your clothes, open your chamber 
window and throw your head out, keeping your mouth wide open 
in order to feast upon the fresh air. In this posture remain for near 
the space of a quarter of an hour. Then proceed to bodily exercise 
by dancing and capering about your room for near twenty-five 
minutes. After spending forty minutes in this manner, devour 
about a Scotch pint 2 of porridge and milk (if to be got) for break- 
fast; after which turn up Erskine 3 and study him with attention, 
considering that every sentence of his you make yourself master 
of will add at least a year to your father's life and may come to 

6 Cathedral. 7 Othello, II. iii. 175. 8 "This place": a Scotticism. 
9 Not certainly identified. An Alexander Hay of Edinburgh was enrolled in 
the University of Leyden in 1765, but as Hay is not again mentioned in the 
letters or memoranda it is perhaps more probable that he was some Scot 
merely passing through Rotterdam. 

1 That is, draw his sword and put himself in the attitude of defence. 

2 Three pints British, 3.6 pints U.S. 

8 A manual of Scots law. See p. 32 n. 5. 

22 8 September 1763 

immortalize your own. For recreation read a chapter now and 

then of the Great Man or honest Spec. 4 Your tongue and p k 

are the only two members I have not instructed you how to exer- 
cise. The former of these you must satisfy by half an hour's vocif- 
eration at your servant, forenoon and afternoon. As to the latter, I 
believe he requires very little exercise, as he seldom or ever of late 
has been seen to move at all. . . . Excuse this damned nonsense, 
and believe me sincerely 

I was just going to finish when your letter was presented me by 
the trusty Mollison. 5 I am very glad to find that you have raised 
your good friend Reason, to the dignity of Governor of Utrecht and 
Commander-in-Chief of all your other passions. He is a worthy fel- 
low and deserves this preferment. Your trunk shall be sent as you 
direct, as shall your letters. Burn this and you'll oblige, yours 


FRIDAY 16 SEPTEMBER. . . , Latin till breakfast, something 
till eleven, then dress and at twelve French, then walk and dine. 
Afternoon, journal, &c. But next week you go to lectures, which 
will employ two hours and one in writing notes, about which you 
need not be exact. Mem. worthy father. Guard against liking bil- 
liards. They are blackguard, and you'll have high character with 
Count Nassau, &c. ? if you don't play. Be easy and natural, though 
a little proud. Write out full mem. that this is your winter to get rid 
of spleen and become a man. 

[c. 16 SEPTEMBER. FRENCH THEME] 6 In acquiring any lan- 
guage, it helps to write a great deal, because by doing so one learns 
spelling, without which the knowledge of a language is very im- 
perfect. But, besides, when one writes, one must understand the 
grammar perfectly or make many absurd mistakes which, although 
they may pass "unnoticed in the rapid flow of conversation, will 
certainly be discovered at once by the reader. For this reason I 
have resolved to write a little every day; and although in the begin- 

4 Dr. Johnson's essays or The Spectator. 5 Stewart's clerk. 
6 Translated; see pp. x, xv, xvii. 

16 September 1763 23 

ning I shall make sad work of it, I hope by practice to make myself 
a good French scholar. This first time I have written without look- 
ing up the words in the dictionary because I began too late; but 
after today I shall apply myself as assiduously to the attainment of 
elegance in this renowned language as if I expected a prize of a 
hundred thousand pounds sterling from the Academy of Sciences 
at Paris. 

SUNDAY 18 SEPTEMBER. Be shaved and dressed at half-past 
eight, and then breakfast and go to the French church, and after 
that walk and come home and write journal, and at two o'clock go 
to the English church and be modest but not affected, and then 
drink tea with Mr. Brown/ and in the evening, coffee and journal. 8 
Keep up to plan. Hear Riicker, &c. on Tuesday. Guard at first with 
students. Be resolute and hear soon from Temple, and write him 
about Miss S. But be not foolishly engaged in sombre hours. Be a 
man always. 9 

You find now that you have been able (with GOD'S favour) to 
make yourself happy even in the most trying circumstances. Let 

7 The Reverend Robert Brown (1728-1777), British agent in Utrecht and 
minister of the English (Presbyterian) church there. He was a Scot who had 
spent some time at Geneva, and while there had entered sufficiently into 
Genevan polemics to get mentioned sharply by Voltaire in a footnote to his 
poem La Guerre Civile de Geneve. He had recently married a Swiss girl, the 
daughter of an expatriate Scots baronet, Sir James Kinloch. Belle de Zuylen, 
who will figure prominently in this volume, was fond of Brown and of his 
wife and sister-in-law, whom she described in 1765 as the only women in all 
Utrecht she went to see. Boswell made arrangements to dine regularly at 
Brown's to improve his French conversation, and carried his French exercises 
there to read aloud. Brown was, throughout Boswell's residence in Utrecht, a 
useful and reasonably sympathetic friend. Though Boswell found him anti- 
pathetic, he had to admit that he was "a generous and clever little man" 
(below, 7 April 1764). French Protestant services are still held, as they 
were in Boswell's day, in St. Peter's church, a few hundred yards to the east 
of the Cathedral. The English services were held a few hundred yards to the 
west of the Cathedral in St. Mary's, the most important Romanesque church 
of Utrecht. It was demolished about 1840. 

8 The original of this memorandum is in French up to this point. 

The four following paragraphs are undated in the manuscript, and the 
order in which they were written is uncertain. 

24 i8 September 1763 

this be always a sure and steady proof to you. This is a chimera. 
Your happiness is not produced by dissipation and gaiety, and so 
may vanish suddenly. It is wrought out by philosophy and pious 
resolutions of doing your duty as a man, with fortitude. Never 
forget this strong period of your life. 

Write to Temple full account of your mental cure. Tell him 
that you allowed your mind to be disturbed by frivolous objects, 
yielded to slight gloom, not thinking of dignity and moral duty. 
But that you exerted spirit and found the noble bliss of acting with 
propriety, which even in your dark hours gave satisfaction; and it 
will increase the longer you act so, as it will give a longer retro- 
spect. Bid him keep this to be a constant check on you. 

Consider, pray, the morality of the Gospel; and if you find 
illicit concubinage forbidden, abstain from it and keep yourself 
strong for marriage. You can smile and say, "I was once an infidel. 
I acted accordingly. I am now a Christian gentleman. You can't 
blame me: I'm young and strong." Mind not trifling jokes on 

Write to Temple and to Johnston on Friday, and advise about 
Miss S. Say as you are to be a good old Scotch gentleman, if you 
should neglect the opportunity of a woman sensible, amiable, well 
bred, who has lived in London. Who can read and talk. Who would 
entertain your friends, and whose harpsichord would charm your 
soul. If your friends think your scheme good, you can talk to 
Stewart and proceed finely and gently. If it does not succeed, 'tis 
another adventure. 

MONDAY 19 SEPTEMBER. Write your mems always in 
English. You can write French in versions. Resolve never to remit 
plan a moment of being a philosopher and having a mind well 
principled. Your plan does in all weathers and all circumstances. 
You must do well and be a good, worthy, respected man. You are 
now forming into proper character. Learn not to talk of yourself. 
To be moderately reserved and never extravagantly merry. You 
will get a right set for life. . . . Tomorrow, hear all lectures, &c. 
Write for trunk tonight. Write to Johnston tomorrow. 

2O September 1763 25 

TUESDAY 20 SEPTEMBER. This is the day on which you are 
to take trial of professors. Try and be shaved and dressed by nine; 
then hear Rlicker, and at ten breakfast, and at eleven hear Trotz, 
and at twelve hear Wesseling. 10 You need hear only law lectures, 
and rather have fencing master. Two days a week you may want 1 
dinner, which will be for health and pay fencing. Attend either 
Riicker or Trotz and no more. But read much privately and con- 
tinue firm to plan. . . . Resolve now no more billiards. Be not hasty 
to take music master, and consult Count Nassau about concert. Be 
frugal, calm, and happy, and get wine soon. 

[Received c. 20 September, Lord Auchinleck to Boswell] 

[Auchinleck, c. 3 September 1 763] 2 

DEAR SON, I have received yours of the 12th ult, and bless 
GOD for the accounts you send me of your safe arrival in Holland 
and of your progress towards Utrecht, where I suppose you are now 
happily and comfortably fixed. 

It was with great pleasure I read your account of my very dear 
friend Mr. Gronovius 3 and the kind reception he gave you. It shows 
me I was not mistaken in contracting friendship with him, for that 
is the proper mark of a friend to be constant and steady and to 
show friendship to the connections of their friend. I cannot say that 
any with whom I entered into friendship ever deceived me. Our 

10 Riicker, Trotz, and Wesseling all gave lectures on law. After the Continen- 
tal cust6m, Boswell plans to hear the opening lecture by each and then select 
the course he wishes to attend. He finally settled on Trotz. 

1 "Go without." 

2 Undated by Lord Auchinleck; endorsed "9 September 1763" by Herries, 
Cochrane and Co., bankers, in London, through whom it was forwarded. See 
below p. 26 n. 6. 

3 Abraham Gronovius (1695-1775), distinguished classical scholar and Li- 
brarian of the University of Ley den. Boswell had called on him on the 12th of 
August to present a letter from his father, who had contracted a friendship 
with Gronovius' during his student days at Ley den. Lord Auchinleck had kept 
up his interest in Greek and Latin and had unusual competence in both. 

26 20 September 1763 

friendships were contracted upon a mutual esteem and confidence 

and after being well apprised of one another's characters. 4 

I hope as you are now gone to another country I had almost 
said another world, for Holland is altogether different from any 
other part of the globe that I know that you will endeavour to 
follow out the good resolutions you set out with, apply hard, and 
make yourself a man of learning. At first after so much dissipation 
it will be irksome, but every day it will become more easy, and very 
soon will be more entertaining than any scene you have yet gone 
through. Pray, be on your guard as to your company, and don't 
take up with odd people or with vicious people. Count Nassau will 
be of great use to you, and the professors will be good company. I 
beg it of you to be cautious against contracting intimacies with 
people you know nothing about. This is a foible you should from 
experience arm against. I know that you were taken in at London 
by that weakness and cheated of your money. 5 In every country 
there are rogues who keep a sharp lookout upon every young fellow 
that makes his appearance, and, if they can, will take advantage 
of him. . . . 

. . . There is in this country the appearance of a plentiful crop, 
and we have now very fine weather for harvest, which is begun. 
The country is in great beauty. I am busy dressing the ground 
about the House, and have made a good progress. 

I set out for Inveraray upon Monday. Lord Prestongrange is my 
colleague and takes Stirling by himself, and I take the other two 
by myself. . . . 6 Your mother is in her ordinary state of health and 
remembers you with affection. I forgot to mention that your credit 
on Holland is for 30 every six weeks. That is the sum you draw for, 

4 An implied criticism of Boswell's friends Johnston, Erskine, and Temple, of 
all of whom Lord Auchinleck entertained a low opinion. 

5 The London Journal records no instance of Boswell's having been cheated of 
his money through contracting an intimacy with some one he knew nothing 
about. But there is that mysterious Army officer whom he told Belle de 
Zuylen he relieved and sent home to his friends. See p. 309. 

6 This reference makes it possible to give the letter an approximate date. The 
Court sat at Inveraray on Thursday 8 September. 

20 September 1 763 2 7 

and the exchange will be <deduct>ed by the banker. It was Sir 
David Dalrymple's way. Farewell, <my dear so>n, and may GOD 
bless and preserve you. I am your affectionate father, 


[Received c. 20 September, Temple to Boswell] 

Trinity Hall [Cambridge] 13 September 1763 
MY DEAR BOSWELL, Your last letter gave me as much pleasure 
as your first did concern. It is as I thought; your bad spirits pro- 
ceeded entirely from your unsettled situation and the loss of 
England. The first inconvenience is already removed, the latter is 
your own choice, and for your benefit. It affords me inexpressible 
satisfaction to find you determined to return to Utrecht. I know 
there is nothing too difficult for you, and I make no doubt of your 
remaining there without any restraint to yourself, after having 

spent a little time in the manner you propose 

Indeed you are a benevolent being. I know you are and I love 
you for it. I know you can rejoice at the happiness of your friends, 
however miserable you may be yourself. But how can you imagine 
those friends can be happy, when they know you are not so? For 
the sake of all those then that love you, let me beg of you, my dear 
Boswell, to sum up all your resolution, and no longer to act a part 
that is unworthy of you. You know I must always love and esteem 
you, but unless you break in pieces the fetters of dissipation and 
sloth, how can I ever entertain a high idea of your character? I long 
to see your journal. I consider it as the history of your mind as well 
as travels, and shall be as much entertained with its ebbs and flows, 
its elasticity and lassitude, as with the variety of characters, of 
places and of objects which you will describe. Bob continues to 
do well. He desires to be remembered to you affectionately. I had 
more to say but my paper admonishes me to conclude. I am, my 
dear Boswell, your sincere friend, 

1 Lord Auchinleck had dropped one Z from the family name. One of BoswelTs 
first gestures of independence was to restore it. 

2 8 20 September 1763 

It is unkind in you to apologize for your letters. If you were ca- 
pable of writing a dull one, you know it could not be unacceptable 
to me. To hear that you are well is worth the postage of fifty letters. 
Let us write freely what we think, and never dress up our letters as 
if they were going to the press. . . . 

[Boswell to Temple] 

Utrecht, 23 September 1 763 

MY DEAR TEMPLE, If my last letter gave you pleasure, this 
must give you much more, as I can now inform you that I have put 
my good resolutions in practice. Your letter first gave my mind a 
proper direction. Mr. Johnson confirmed and carried me on. I have 
received the most valuable instruction from his Rambler. Several 
papers seem to have been just written for me. I shall make out a 
cento (if I may use the expression) of philosophy for the happy 
conduct of life from his works. He is the ablest mental physician 
that I have ever applied to. He insists much on preserving a manly 
fortitude of mind, and maintains that every distress may be sup- 
ported. But I shall not now begin to my cento. 

When I was once roused to exert my spirit, I went up to Utrecht. 
I fixed myself down to a regular plan and in a day or two grew 
almost well. I am now settled in the best manner. I have got a 
neat house of my own and an excellent servant. I get up every 
morning at seven. I read Ovid till nine, then I breakfast. From ten 
to eleven I read Tacitus. From eleven to twelve I am shaved and 
dressed every day. From twelve to one I hear a lecture upon Civil 
Law. From one to three I walk and dine. From three to four my 
French master is with me. The rest of the day is spent in reading 
different books and in writing. This day I began to set about re- 
covering my Greek. I have taken Cebes's Table and shall next read 
Xenophon, and so advance to greater difficulties. 8 

8 Boswell began studying Latin while a small boy, and maintained a very 
good command of it all his life. He began the study of Greek at the University 
of Edinburgh when he was fifteen, but perhaps then went through no more 
than the elementary course. One gets the impression that hi spite of this re- 

23 September 1763 29 

My dear friend! how noble is this! Good GOD, what a change! 
Luckily I did not write to my father during my miserable state of 
mind. Honest man, he is pleased to think of my being on a prudent 
plan, and knows nothing of what has happened. And now that it 
is over, there is really no harm done. To be sure, I endured a most 
dreadful shock. . , . 

I have for some time past been in a sad course of dissipation. 
I hope to get rid of that and to form habits of study and manly 
conduct which will make me happy all my life. Instead of think- 
ing myself in a dreary solitude, I am in a foreign university-town, 
acquiring knowledge, learning French, living among foreigners. 
There is not another English student here. Count Nassau is very- 
polite, and tells me that by and by we shall have fine parties. My 
dear friend, how strange is this affair! I look back on my late situa- 
tion as on a horrid dream. I can scarce believe it. Should I be cast 
down with the recollection of it? or should I not exult at having 
obtained a complete victory, and never dread a return? I must 
however remark that I have a little natural disposition to be melan- 
choly. But I will bear it like a man; and it never lasts long. How 
near was I doing some dreadful extravagant thing 1 But I thank 
GOD I have escaped. I have been much obliged upon this occasion 
to Stewart. 

And now, my friend, you must not smile when I tell you what 
I am at present amusing my fancy with. Stewart's sister is sensible, 
amiable, has been several winters in London, is perfectly accom- 
plished. She is not handsome, but is extremely agreeable and what 
you would call a woman of fashion. She and I were always good 
friends; and when I was in Scotland, she was the only woman 
I could think of for a wife. Stewart and I have been talking much 
of her, and I have heard more and more of her good qualities. I 
begin to think that I should not let such a prize pass without know- 
ing if I might have her. I could write postscripts in her brother's 

view in 1763-1 764 he retained in after life only about enough of the language 
to identify a Greek passage with the aid of a translation. Cebes's Table, a 
dialogue on education formerly held to be the work of a disciple of Socrates, 
was much used in the eighteenth century as an elementary text. 

30 23 September 1763 

letters, and take many ways to find out how she would like the 
scheme. Pray excuse this. I can conceal nothing from you; nor 
will I ever take a step of any consequence (except an intrigue or 
a quarrel) without your advice. Tell me if it would be agreeable 
to have such a scheme in view after my travels, and if I would not 
make the tour of Europe with high satisfaction while I considered 
that I should have the honour to take the most accomplished 
woman in Scotland by the hand upon my return. You know I 
have always wished to marry an English woman. But should I 
neglect to obtain a lady who would be an honour to my family, 
entertain my friends, and be a constant companion to myself? 
My dear friend! From this indistinct story you may guess my 
present sentiments. In the stillness of Utrecht, this scheme appears 
very fine. Tell me truly, is it just a whim? Would it embarrass 
me for some years~yet to think of marrying? Should I set myself 
at ease and let some worthy man have her? Shall I have as good 
some time hence? Or will it fix me to a rational plan, and shall I 
begin to beat about the bush? Pray write me fully about it. For 
you shall determine me. My kind wishes to Bob. I ever am, my 
dearest Temple, yours most affectionately, 

Write soon. 

[Boswell to Johnston, concluded] 

Utrecht, 23 September 1763 

. . . Consider, my friend, what a noble discovery I have made, 
that melancholy can be got the better of. I don't say entirely. But 

9 This sort of thing was an old story to Temple, to whom Boswell had been 
turning for years for serious advice concerning matrimonial schemes. The 
first letter of Boswell to Temple now known to exist, a letter written when 
Boswell was some months short of eighteen, confides his passion for a Miss 
Martha White, an heiress of 30,000, who later married the Earl of Elgin. 
Between this date and 1769, when he finally married, Boswell wrote at great 
length to Temple about at least four other young ladies whom he had more or 
less serious thoughts of making Mrs. Boswell. The woman he did marry was 
not of the number. 

23 September 1763 31 

by vigorously opposing it, I have a conscious satisfaction even in 
my dark hours; and when I have the "sunshine of the soul," 1 then 
I am doubly blest. My dear Johnston! this is a strange letter. I had 
not room to be full enough. But from what I have said you may by 
the assistance of your fancy have matter of thought for some time. 
Pray let my victory have a proper effect upon you. I shall think this 
late shock a fortunate affair if it help us both to a method of pre- 
serving constant satisfaction of soul. I shall write more to you on 
the subject, I continue my journal, and much entertainment will 
it afford. I shall transmit it to Temple; and when I return, we shall 
read it together. my dear Johnston! felicitate your poor friend 
restored to comfort! This last affair appears now almost incredible. 
Luckily I did not write all the time to my father. I hope now to be 
in no danger. 

Pray take care of Charles. 2 Temple will send you a bill for 
some money soon. Write immediately, before you leave Grange 
for old Edina. . . .* I ever am, my dear Johnston, affectionately 


Address A Monsieur, Monsieur Boswell a la Cour de 1'Em- 
pereur a Utrecht. Write fully your thoughts about my scheme of 
Miss S .* 

Take care and open this letter nicely, or you'll tear the writing; 
especially the two little seals on the sides. 

P.S. Write freely on S. scheme. It is the only Scots one I can 

1 Pope's Essay on Man, IV. 168. 

2 Boswell's natural son, at this time about ten months old. He had been born 
shortly after Boswell left Edinburgh in November, 1762, his mother (Peggy 
Doig) being apparently a servant. Before his departure, Boswell had ar- 
ranged with a Dr. Cairnie of Edinburgh to put the child in the care of a 
foster-mother, and had provided funds for his maintenance. Johnston visited 
him regularly and sent Boswell reports. See BoswelVs London Journal, tfa- 

3 The omitted passage refers to Miss Stewart in much the terms of the preced- 
ing letter to Temple. 

4 What follows was written on the outside, after the letter was folded and 

32 23 September 1763 

think of. For I have always thought of some fine English one. 

Should I banish this whim and have a run of several more years? 

SATURDAY 24 SEPTEMBER. This day regular plan. Ovid till 
breakfast, Tacitus till eleven, dress till twelve, then either Trotz 

or visits; dine Plaats Royaal Three to four, French; four to 

five, Greek; then coffee; then notes of law, and history, and journal, 
and Erskine's Institutes. . . . Get Corpus Juris. 5 Billiards is the 
only mala farna here. Make resolve against it. Write Stewart at 
night. Miss S. is again evaporated. You see how vain a fancy. You 
must not marry for some years, unless Temple bids. Write him on 
Tuesday, long composed letter, sensible and on a subject of learn- 
ing mostly. Persist firm and noble. 

[Boswell to Temple] 

Utrecht, 25 September 1763 

MY DEAR TEMPLE, Although I wrote you a very long letter 
last post, yet I must now again have the happiness of talking to my 
friend. My last was written somewhat in a hurry, as I had put it 
off till the post-night, which is very short here, as the bag is shut 
at eight. I was so full of my own affairs that I could talk of nothing 
else; and even of them I wrote but an undistinct account. I think 
our correspondence should be perfectly the result of inclination. 
Let us write whenever we feel a desire to do so; and then our letters 
will be truly valuable to each other, when they flow from the heart 
and are not laboured. At the same time, if a particular subject starts 
up, we may take some pains to pursue it, and so may now and then 
contribute to the mutual improving of our understandings, as well 
as to the gratification of our affections. 6 

5 The great collection of Roman law which he was studying with Professor 
Trotz. John Erskine's Principles of the Law of Scotland, which Boswell and 
his father call "Erskine's Institutes" was a manual of Scots law, now obsolete. 
The much more important work by Erskine now known as "Erskine's 
Institutes? was not published till 1773. 

6 The three paragraphs following are in reply to the middle section of Tern- 

25 September 1763 33 

It gives me very great pleasure to think that you are upon so 
good a footing with Mr. Gray, and that you find him as high a 
character as you formerly conceived him to be. The contemplation 
of such a man must rouse every noble principle. For he was not 
born so. By study and by reflection he has attained that dignity 
of mind and elegance of sentiment. I leave his poetry out of the 
question. A genius like his can seldom arise to show humanity 
how high it may be. But there are few men who by proper cultiva- 
tion may not become very noble beings. 

My dear Temple! may not even I make myself a respectable 
character? I am particularly happy to find that you have talked 
freely to Mr. Gray of your situation, and that he has given you 
his advice as a friend. This is a matter of great consequence. Pray 
let me know particularly how you consulted him, and what he 
said. You observe with great justice that speculation is not enough, 
and that a man ought to engage in some scheme of active life that 
may render him useful to society and happy in himself. You must 
be sensible that the mind of most men will grow uneasy without 
some actual plan. Such is the constitution of the world that if we 
speculate too much about it we shall see all human pursuits in 
insipid or ridiculous views. But let us once heartily engage in some 
course of action and all these imaginations vanish. We are filled 
with desires, with hopes, and with fears that excite our powers 
and render us vigorous by their exertion. We ought to consider 
that GOD has placed us here as in a state of probation, where we 
have got abilities, which if we exercise properly, we may have 
immediate happiness, and may raise our minds more and more 
towards that state of perfection which all noble souls have ever had 
ideas of. Another great incitement to a life of action is the exercise 
that it affords to the social virtues. He who lives in a studious retire- 
ment is almost necessarily somewhat selfish, for solitude gives him 
a habit of attending only to his own good; whereas by taking a part 

pie's letter of 13 September (above, p. 27), omitted in this edition. Since 
Boswell repeats so much, not merely of Temple's ideas but of his language, 
one of the two disquisitions seems sufficient. 

34 25 September 1763 

in life, we have constant opportunities of doing service in some 
way or other to our fellow-creatures. And I must add that the 
studious and retired hours of an active man are by far the most 
agreeable. The great point is to have a proper mixture of action 
and speculation, and this I should imagine every man in tolerable 
circumstances may continue to enjoy. 

Now, my friend, these are very good general reasonings. But 
how are they to be applied? I am anxious to hear of your deter- 
mining upon some plan of real life. I am sure it will do you infinite 
service to be fixed. I like to hear of the mitre dancing before your 
eyes. Will you then determine to be a clergyman? Shall I really 
see Dr. Temple's handsome equipage at Auchinleck? Or is the bar 
unwilling to quit hopes of having your presence? Indeed, I am 
seriously of opinion that it would be too dry and laborious a busi- 
ness for you. There is no doing things by halves as a lawyer in 
England. However, I shall be happy to have your particular ideas. 
I am grown quite keen that we should both take our posts in the 
warfare of life. I persuade myself we have spirit enough to make 
good soldiers. Let us never yield a moment to mental cowardice; 
if we do, we shall think meanly of ourselves. Let us persist with an 
unremitting fortitude. 

I will lay my present schemes clearly before you, and so you 
can consider them properly. After some time passed in idleness, 
dissipation, and fickleness, I have now resolved to pursue a rational 
plan of life. I am born to an estate of a thousand a year in Scotland, 
which has been transmitted through several generations of worthy 
men who held a good rank in the country. I think myself under a 
natural tie to keep up this family upon the old estate; to improve 
and beautify it, and to live well with all my neighbours by being 
upon an agreeable hospitable footing with them. This may be suf- 
ficient employment for some months in the year. But I must have 
more occupation. I am therefore acquiring knowledge of the Civil 
Law and of the law of Scotland, that I may be one of the Faculty 
of Advocates, a very respectable society. That I may have it in my 
power to do service as a man of business and may be in the road 

25 September 1763 35 

to preferment as a judge, which is no chimerical project. By this 
means I have a conscious satisfaction that I am acting a proper part. 
I have respect; I have an addition to my fortune. I have time 
enough to cultivate the elegant studies, which I am determined 
never to neglect I can pass some months in London every year, and 
so be quite a man of the world, by being at the Metropolis often 
enough to keep up acquaintance with all my English friends, who 
would value me more as a man of some consequence than as a 
mere agreeable companion, and would perhaps take jaunts to see 
me at Auchinleck. For I must mix some of my gay schemes with 
all this propriety and rational consideration. I would have interest, 
and so be able to serve my friends in many ways. Perhaps I may 
be fortunate enough to obtain a seat in Parliament. That would put 
me upon a very fine footing; and perhaps I might get a good place 
in London, and so pass my winter in London and summer at Auch- 
inleck. But these last schemes I cannot promise so much upon, nor 
would I fix my imagination too strongly upon them. The others 
are very attainable. By this means I shall give satisfaction and 
comfort to my worthy father, who has suffered much uneasiness 
from my former levity and inconsistency, 7 which to a man of his 
prudence and uniform conduct appeared much worse than to 
other people. 

I am now at a foreign university, or rather in a foreign city 
where I have an opportunity of acquiring knowledge. I am at a 
distance from all my dissipated companions. I may attain habits 
of thought, study, and propriety of conduct. I am next to travel 
through Europe. I shall always be upon my guard to persist in the 
proper course, and hope to return to England so confirmed in it 
that I shall be able to proceed through life with unaffected recti- 

I wrote to you in my last that I had taken it into my head to 
think of Miss Stewart for my wife. You know my precipitant im- 
petuosity when I am pleased with a new fancy. Perhaps you have 
7 The manuscript reads inconstency. Boswell may have meant inconstancy, 
but the spelling would be most unusual for him. 

36 25 September 1763 

smiled sufficiently at this. But you must write to me gravely about 
it. For it has really got a pretty firm hold of me. By talking with 
her brother I have been reminded of her many perfections. She is 
of a good family, and has 5000 for her fortune, and I am sure 
would be agreeable to my father. I never was in love with her; that 
is to say, I never felt any of that inflamed fancy for her which is 
intoxicating while it lasts but never can remain long. I always 
considered her as a sensible, affable, well bred woman that I chose 
to be with as a companion, though at times I could discern a kind 
of tender affection glancing through my mind. Pray give me your 
advice fully. Is this scheme merely the suggestion of a rich imagi- 
nation in solitude, which ought to be laughed at and dismissed? Or 
is it an excellent plan which ought not to be relinquished? 

As I must at any rate pass some months at Auchinleck, do you 
think that an English woman would like that (Miss Floyer for 
instance) , 8 or should I not try to secure a lady who would support 
a character of dignity? I could easily see by writing postscripts to 
her and talking to Stewart if she liked me. My pride will scarcely 
allow me to doubt it. At any rate, 'tis an adventure. If it be a foolish 
scheme, check it freely. I shall do you the same kind office in the 
like situation. 

I continue quite well. Johnson! how much do I owe to thee! 
I now see that I can conquer my spleen by preserving just ideas 
of the dignity of human nature and never allowing sloth and idle- 
ness to get the better of me. I have cured it when it was at its worst. 
Pray remember this, and never allow me again to plead a real dis- 
temper. If you think my general plan of life good, approve it and 
keep me firm to it, and let us remember that at any rate we shall 
be a third of the year together and with higher satisfaction if we 
are doing well. 

8 Frances Floyer, daughter of a Governor of Madras and cousin of Norton 
Nicholls, "whom" (says Boswell in a later journal) "I had seen in London in 
the year 1763, when my friend Temple admired her much." Miss Floyer, it 
turned out, had no objection to Scotland, for she married Captain John 
ErsHne, heir of the attainted earldom of Mar, and went to live at Alloa. 

25 September 1763 37 

And now for honest Robert. Remember me most affectionately 
to the dog. Tell him how great a man I am with my house and my 
servant; and tell him that I have got two suits: of sea-green with 
silver lace, and scarlet with gold. 

Pray let me know how much a letter from this costs you. We 
must not write too often. Here again I am talking absurdly. Pray 
leave a bit of paper clean for your seal, as I always tear some of the 
writing, I ever remain yours most affectionately, 


P.S. Pray forward the letter that was left for me at my chambers 
in the Temple. 

[c. 25 SEPTEMBER. FRENCH THEME] At present I rise every- 
day early, a practice which contributes much to the preservation of 
health, for it knits up the nerves and gives hardiness and vigour to 
the entire constitution. There are many people who have made 
themselves weak and sickly simply by sleeping too much, or rather 
by a vile habit of wasting the precious morning hours in lazy slum- 
ber. But as for me, I have given orders to my servant to wake me 
every day at half -past six o'clock, and my orders are always obeyed 
with marvellous exactitude. It is not usual to find a watch that runs 
so true as Frangois, and I am quite ready to lay a bet on him against 
all the clocks in the country. As soon as I am awake, I remember my 
duty, and like a brisk mariner I give the lash to indolence and 
bounce up with as much vivacity as if a pretty girl, amorous and 
willing, were waiting for me. 


Ten lines a day I task myself to write, 
Be fancy clouded or be fancy bright, 
Sure, no Egyptian task; for unconfin'd 
Let Genius range the forest of the mind, 
And, as Apollo grants him vigour, grub 
The tow'ring cedar or the lowly shrub. 
I seek not sallies elegant and terse, 

38 25 September 1763 

But to acquire the power of making verse; 
And sure by practice I may freely hope 
To turn a line like Dryden or like Pope. 

MONDAY 26 SEPTEMBER. Let your first care each morning 
be to look at your mems. Then to your plan for the day. But fre- 
quently review week's mems each Saturday, as you often forget 
useful hints. Pray mark in journal, "Governor Reason and the 
banditti." 9 Pray keep to plan and have mind well principled. 1 
Tell [Frangois] not to shave against grain for fear of scurvy. Bring 
up journal hard today. Write Johnston on Tuesday, if post comes 
not, and Dempster next week. Write but seldom, and read much. 

TUESDAY 27 SEPTEMBER. Yesterday was rather irregular. 
'Tis true you read Latin, Greek, French, and did a little at Erskine. 
But you have much journal to bring up. Write as few letters as 
possible. Hear first from Dempster and keep yourself quiet, retired, 
and studious. Persist vigorous in plan; never remit. Make it out full 
for pocket-book. Write French before ten each morning, and lay 
out hours exactly. Spend not so much time in sauntering. Be 
firm to be always employed, and be not just immediately enter- 
tained; but have constant eye to future life and being Laird of 
Auchinleck and Baron. Never want dinner. You will hurt your 
health. You can if you please have it sent to you. Mark Tacitus 
always. Never indulge fits and starts. Have no flute master to 

SATURDAY i OCTOBER. Get commonplace-book, like Gray. 
You was irregular yesterday by supping out to have Professor Cas- 

9 Probably related to the following passage in one of the French themes: "Mr. 
Sheridan, teacher of oratory, comparing the human mind to the political 
constitution of Great Britain, found many similarities between them. Reason, 
said he, is the king; Imagination and its train of Fancies represent the 
nobility; and the Passions represent the people. 1 * See also the final paragraph 
of Archibald Stewart's letter, p. 22. Boswell has perhaps thought of an ex- 
tension of the figure in which some of the passions have set themselves in 
lawless opposition to the state? 
1 An echo of Johnson's "soul well principled": see above, p. 18 n. 8. 

i October 1 763 39 

tillon's company, 2 which was not amiss. But you gained little by 
it. You was pretty much upon your guard. But you rather indulged 
high spirits too much and spoke too much. Besides, you spoke too 
much of yourself and too laughably of Dominus Trotz. Guard 
against approaches to familiarity with Brown or Rose, 3 and try to 
fix dining with Brown, so as to be in the way of a family always. 
This day, just set it apart to bring up journal, and then you'll be 
clear; and after this all will go regularly on. Never remit plan. 
Apply much to Voltaire. Think to hear Trotz on feudal system. 


Sure I resolv'd three days ago and more 
By noon to have my rhyming business o'er, 
But the resolves of mortal man arc vain, 
For now I must begin at night again. 
A night like this so early in the year 
To my five senses never did appear: 
My soles resemble much or let me die 
Two smoothing-irons which have long lain by, 
And, I protest, my fingers with the cold 
Are so benumb'd I scarce my pen can hold. 

WEDNESDAY 5 OCTOBER. You laboured hard yesterday at 
journal, and you have brought it up well. You have only Sir 

2 J. F. Salvemini de Castillon (or Castiglione), Professor of Mathematics at 
Utrecht, became next year professor at Berlin. He had made translations 
from Pope and Locke and had edited the minor works of Newton. Belle de 
Zuylen said he was the only man she enjoyed discussing metaphysics with. 

3 Our knowledge of Rose, who was, all things considered, the most intimate 
of BoswelFs male associates in Utrecht, remains disappointingly vague. He 
was of a junior branch of the distinguished Scottish house of Rose of Kilra- 
vock, according to Boswell, a first cousin of the reigning laird; and was later, 
at least, in holy orders, but whether in the Church of Scotland or the Church 
of England is uncertain. What he was doing in Utrecht is equally obscure. 
He seems to have felt himself in some sort an exile, and was glad to accept 
payment for tutoring. Boswell went to him for lessons in Greek, and he gave 
Professor Trotz instruction in English. He rented a room in Brown's house. 

40 5 October 1763 

William Forbes and the adventure with the Dutch students to 
mark. 4 The rest will be merely your studies of Greek, &c. From 
this time let plan proceed: seven to eight, Ovid; eight to nine, 
French version; ten to eleven, Tacitus; three to four, French; four 
to five, Greek; six to seven, Civil Law; seven to eight, Scots; eight to 
ten, Voltaire. Then journal, letters, and other books. Learn by all 
means retenue* and being easy without talking of yourself, and 
guard against ridicule; so don't encourage viewing objects in ridic- 
ulous lights. Write Father soon. Dine Brown Sunday and be 
moderately grave. Keep fixed general plan still in view. Sir David, 
Johnston, Arthur Seat. 6 

[Received 5 October, Sir David Dalrymple to Boswell] 

Knaresborough, Yorkshire, 26 September 1763 
MY DEAR SIR: I have been so great a wanderer of late that 
you need not be surprised at my not having wrote to you. I was at 
Inverness upon the Circuit when I heard that my youngest sister, 
who was here for the recovery of her health, was dangerously ill. 
I lost no time, but came here. I found her rather better, but still 
in a dubious way. 

This evening I got your letter of the 8th September, which 
both surprised and afflicted me. I am glad however to find that 
the foul fiend (as you call it) has left you. Your friend has very 
justly told you the name of this spectre; it was Idleness. Sometimes 

* "Yesterday you was necessarily and properly taken up with Sir William 
Forbes, a Scotch knight, and who has care of your brother" (Memorandum, 
22 September 1763). Boswell's fifteen-year-old brother David had recently 
been apprenticed to the banking-house of which Forbes was a partner. Forbes 
later became one of Boswell's most trusted friends and was executor of his 
estate. The "adventure with the Dutch students" is unexplained. 

5 "Reserve." 

6 "I next stood in the court before the Palace [of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh] , 
and bowed thrice to Arthur Seat, that lofty romantic mountain on which I 
have so often strayed in my days of youth, indulged meditation and felt the 
raptures of a soul filled with ideas of the magnificence of GOD and his crea- 
tion" (BoswelFs London Journal, 1762-1765, 1950, pp. 41-42). 

5 October 1763 41 

she appears like an improba Siren? amusing to destroy; at other 
times she arms herself with whips and stings and torments her 
votaries. If you continue to fill up your time with study and exer- 
cise, she will have no opportunity of assailing you with success. 
Your application to GOD was a right and a wise method of relieving 
you from your distress, but you must not suppose that GOD will 
operate upon your mind without your using the proper means for 
your own relief. 

The means you are using are excellent. To tell you the truth, 
I am not much surprised that at your first arrival in a strange 
place your mind was uneasy. That however is but a momentary 
sensation of uneasiness, and you will get over it presently if you 
follow that excellent regimen which you prescribe to yourself. 
Pray make yourself master of French as soon as you can, without 
neglecting exercise. When the weather is bad, get into a wagon 
or chaise of some kind, and jolt off your listlessness. As soon as 
the weather sets in for frost, learn to skate. You will find a master 
for that exercise where you are. Skate in company and you will 
run no danger of drowning, nor much of ducking. 

There was a shoemaker, an eminent professor in skating, at 
Utrecht when I was there; his name Lebonk. Let me recommend 
him to your acquaintance. He is an accomplished personage, 
speaks both French and English, and has as high ideas of his own 
signif icancy in his way as Mr. Pitt or any statesman of them all can 
have. Let him tell you the story of his having skated before the 
King of France. But perhaps I am speaking of one who is no 
more. I hope you will have no occasion of consulting Dr. Tissot. 8 
He speaks the languages, and is no mean original in his way. 

It will amuse you to take a college on the Notitia rerum publi- 
carum. 1 just suggest such things as I think may entertain you till 
you come to have facility in understanding and speaking French. 

7 "Immodest siren" (Horace, Satires, II. iii. 14). 

8 A doctor of medicine. Boswell did consult him on 25 May 1764. 

9 "The idea (or conception) of state property,*' for example, highways, rivers, 
and harbours. In Scotland the word "college" (Latin collegium') retained 
until the nineteenth century the continental meaning, "course of lectures." 

42 5 October 1763 

I think some time hence you should give your good father a general 
idea of the situation of your mind on your first arrival at Utrecht; 
however, of this you yourself must judge. You should not forget 
your good friend the Christian philosopher, Mr. Johnson. He has 
studied the human mind so much and so well that your case will 
not seem extraordinary to him. Will you allow me to joke with 
you so far as to remind you of Dr. Swift's chapter on the diseases 
of the Yahoos? 1 There is also a consultation of Martinus Scriblerus 
in a case something resembling yours. 2 You will find from those 
passages that your Cambridge friend has truly pronounced your 
late disease to have been Idleness. Adieu, dear Sir. Believe me 

most sincerely yours, 


THURSDAY 6 OCTOBER. This letter to Mr. Johnson is a ter- 
rible affair. Don't take any more time to it. But either send him a 
short substantial one or copy out the large one; 'tis natural, though 
rude. He will like it, and you can correct your copy and make it 
very pretty, for there are fine, strong, lively passages in it. Copy 

1 The seventh chapter of "A Voyage to the Houyhnhnms" concludes: "My 
master likewise mentioned another quality which his servants had discovered 
in several Yahoos, and to him was wholly unaccountable. He said, a fancy 
would sometimes take a Yahoo to retire into a corner, to lie down, and howl 
and groan, and spurn away all that came near him, although he were young 
and fat, wanted neither food nor water; nor did the servants imagine what 
could possibly ail him. And the only remedy they found was, to set him to 
hard work, after which he would infallibly come to himself. To this I was 
silent, out of partiality to my own kind; yet here I could plainly discover the 
true seeds of spleen, which only seizeth on the lazy, the luxurious, and the 
rich; who, if they were forced to undergo the same regimen, I would under- 
take for the cure" (Gulliver's Travels, Part IV). 

2 Scriblerus diagnoses "the case of a young nobleman at Court, who was ob- 
served to grow extremely affected in his speech, and whimsical in all his 
behaviour" as an occurrence of the very common disease self-love, and pre- 
scribes, among several remedies, that "it would not be amiss if he travelled 
over England in a stage-coach, and made the tour of Holland in a track- 
scoute" (Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus, Chapter 1 1, by Dr. John Arbuthnot 
and others, in the Works of Alexander Pope). 

6 October 1763 43 

out today the first business you do. Then lay the copy by, not to 
be looked at for a long time, and seal the letter comfortable, and 
send it off. 8 You'll never have such a task again. 

FRIDAY 7 OCTOBER. You go on charmingly. Be steady and 
firm. You have told Brown your story, and he will assist you. Begin 
on Sunday to dine with him. If you please, and the day is good, 
put on scarlet and gold, and please humour with cockade. Send 
today for book of maps and read Xenophon with more pleasure. 
Make commonplace-book of a quire, but don't bind it. Do like Cas- 
tillon; mark where different subjects are to be found. Extract from 
Tacitus, Ovid, Xenophon, Voltaire, and so pick up treasure as you 
go on. Push scheme of Society. 4 You must allow three hours every 
evening for amusement. Six hours are enough a day for labour. 

[c. 79 OCTOBER. FRENCH THEMES] Last evening I was hon- 
oured with the company of the celebrated Professor Trotz. Al- 
though the weather was horrible, he was so good as to venture out 
and come to see me, which puffed up by a great deal more the van- 
ity which I naturally possess in a supreme degree. I offered him a 
glass of wine, but he told me he was suffering from a bad cold and 
had a pain in his chest and that wine would not be good for it. I was 
very sorry to hear that he was ill and that we could not have the 
pleasure of drinking a glass together, which would have made us 
lively and inspired us with cordiality. Then I proposed tea, and he 
told me that it would be very agreeable to him. I was surprised to 
see that he took sugar like an Englishman, because I had heard so 
many jokes about the narrowness of the Dutch in that article. 

Professor Trotz is a very learned man, He gives excellent lec- 
tures on the Civil Law, which he explains, not drily like a pedant, 
but like a philosopher. He now and again intersperses ingenious 

3 His Register of Letters shows that he did send the Mtoi off next day. But 
neither the original nor the copy has been recovered, md he punted no part 
of it in The Life of Johnson. 

4 A literary society of students which met on Wednesday evenings and spoke 
only French. From this memorandum it appears that Boswell was the 
founder, or one of the founders. 

44 ?-g October 1763 

moral observations and amusing historical anecdotes, and his col- 
lege is truly a school of liberal knowledge. He was formerly pro- 
fessor in Friesland, and when he was invited to Utrecht the Fri- 
sians begged him to stay; offered him carte blanche and the dignity 
of a Senator. But Mr. Trotz thanked them very much and preferred 
Utrecht because his wife's family were there and because it was a 
very elegant city; and as life is short, he wanted to pass it pleas- 
antly. I laugh heartily to myself to see so striking an instance of 
the fact that all our pleasures are relative. That same Utrecht 
which appeared so gloomy to a man from London was considered a 
seat of felicity by a man from Franeker. 

Looking out of my window this morning I saw a very odd fig- 
ure. It was a big Dutchman, very fat and very clumsy. He had on 
a blue garment, thick and long, a wig of amazing size, and a ter- 
rifying sword at right angles to his body. He was holding a book 
with both hands, raised almost to his eyes, like a Scots precentor. 
He held himself perpendicular, and he walked with measured 
steps, pursuing his studies. I was greatly diverted and wished much 
that Hogarth, the famous painter of comic scenes, could have seen 
him. He would no doubt have given us a fine burlesque picture. 
Or if Butler, the author of Hudibras, had seen him, he would have 
given us most excellent comic rhymes on a subject so full of ridi- 

SUNDAY 9 OCTOBER. If the day is good, put on your scarlet 
clothes and behave with decency before fair lady 5 at French 
church. Home till half an hour after twelve at journal, and then go 
to Brown and dine and be cheerful and happy. After church, jour- 
nal all evening, to bring it up once clear. Then you'll be quite regu- 
lar. Never desist an hour from plan. Be always like Lord Kames, 
doing something, and never divert people here like Carnegie. 6 
Write out Plan. Bring up Van Eck and go on with Erskine. Indulge 
not whims but form into a man. 

5 Unidentified. 

R Lord Kames, like Boswell's father a judge in both the supreme courts of 
Scotland, was a voluminous author on a variety of subjects. "Carnegie" is 
not identified. 

ii October 1763 45 

TUESDAY 11 OCTOBER. From this day follow Mr. Locke's 
prescription of going to stool every day regularly after breakfast. 7 
It will do your health good, and it is highly necessary to take care 
of your health. This morning read from breakfast till college, Van 
Eck, so as to bring him up. It is reading Latin, and will serve for 
a day instead of Tacitus. Take notes when you can on Pandects, and 
get a Corpus Juris; perhaps Brown can let you have one. Buy Trotz 
De memoriaf get an Erskine for him. Be temperate and rise at 
seven each morning. Take some negus at night to prevent damps. 
It is necessary. Take constant exercise. 

[c. 12-14 OCTOBER. FRENCH THEMES] I like exceedingly to 
wash my feet in warm water. It gives me a kind of tranquillity. I 
am not joking; I speak from experience. I have often done it merely 
for pleasure. But if I receive so much delight from washing my feet, 
how great must have been the luxury of the Romans, who solaced 
thus their entire bodies. The warm baths which they had every- 
where contributed greatly to felicity Truly, without exaggera- 
tion, one cannot imagine anything more consoling than after a day 
of annoyance and fatigue to undress and stretch one's self out at 
full length in fluid warmth, to have one's nerves gently relaxed, to 
enjoy indolent ease and forget all one's cares. I experienced a little 
of that enjoyment when I was at Mof f at in Scotland for the mineral 
waters. But my pleasure was very crude because I was taking 
the baths for my health, and there were no conveniences for bath- 
ing for pleasure. 9 1 was put into a horrible tub, a scanty covering 

7 "...if a man, after his first eating in the morning, would presently 
solicit nature, and try whether he could strain himself so as to obtain a 
stool, he might in time, by a constant application, bring it to be habitual" 
(John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, Section 24). 

8 "Van Eck" was a Latin comment on the Roman Civil Law, "arranged in 
the order of the Pandects," that is, of the digest of excerpts from the writings 
of the Roman jurists prepared at the order of the Emperor Justinian. Trotz's 
work appears to have been a method for memorizing the Roman law. 

9 This happened in his twelfth year. In the sketch of his life which he after- 
wards wrote for Rousseau, he says that he had a bad cold which left him 
with nervous indigestion and scorbutic complaints. 

46 1 2-14 October 1 763 

was thrown over me, and in that state I was obliged to remain for 
half an hour. I had as my supervisor a barbarian of a Presbyterian 
preacher, who called out from time to time in a harsh voice, "Take 
care, you rogue! If we see the least disobedience to our orders, we 
shall proceed to instant punishment." And that was why I kept 
quiet, though I was extremely bored. 

A warm bath is, I confess, a most agreeable kind of luxury, but 
luxury is very dangerous. . . . Above all things a young man should 
guard against effeminacy. I would advise him to avoid warm baths 
and accustom himself rather to the cold bath, which will give him 
vigour and liveliness. When I was at Edinburgh, I used to take 
a cold bath every morning, even in the severest winter. I met there 
the most shameless flatterer I ever saw. He was the bath-keeper. 
He said to me, "Mr. Boswell, if you should choose to join the Army, 
there is no doubt that you would be accepted for any rank lower 
than that of General." He always flattered me without limit. He 
had a prodigious stock of gross compliments. But, indeed, though 
I always laughed at his amazing effrontery, I liked to hear him run 
on. The most obvious flattery has in it something agreeable. 

FRIDAY 14 OCTOBER. This is the great day of Count Nassau's 
dinner. Dress in scarlet and gold, fine swiss, white silk stockings, 
handsome pumps, and have silver-and-silk sword-knot, Barcelona 
handkerchief, and elegant toothpick-case which you had in a pres- 
ent from a lady. Be quite the man of fashion and keep up your 
dignity. Don't think it idle time, for while abroad being in good 
company is your great scheme and is really improving. Only take 
care and never be merely idle, but employ some hours a day in 
study. Bring up journal clear, and after this clear it every three 


Let other bards compose majestic songs: 
My humble subject is a pair of tongs; 
Not those slight things which ladies use at tea, 
But what you may by ev'ry chimney see. 

Boswell's Inviolable Plan, drawn up at Utrecht, 16 October 1763. 

14 October 1763 47 

My surly tutor 1 in my wayward youth 

Made me submit to punishments uncouth. 

And, as a dreadful penance for neglect, 2 

Oft made me take the tongs about my neck. 

But I to wear the tongs was always vain, 

And thought them grander than a mayor's chain. 

SATURDAY 15 OCTOBER. This day resolve to bring up journal, 
so push it on smartly but prettily and fully, and be sure to give 
Count Nassau's dinner as a specimen, &c. You was rather too high 
last night. Always try to attain tranquillity. Every time that you 
gain an advantage over bad affections, you'll be stronger. Write 
out Plan fully today for certain, and write obligation to Father 
with answers to all objections, and make him keep you to it. Take 
French version every day to Brown. Have Carron Monday, Wed- 
nesday, Friday. Learn retenue. Pray do. Don't forget in Plan: when 
once you're fairly at business, you'll go on. 

SUNDAY 16 OCTOBER. You did a great deal yesterday. You 
made out your Plan, 3 and you brought up near a whole week of 
journal. This day bring up the rest, and then you'll always after 
this be clear and easy. 'Tis true you sat up a little late, but that 
must now and then happen in important cases. Read your Plan 
every morning regularly at breakfast, and when you travel, carry 
it in trunk. Get commonplace-book. Be one week without talking 
of self or repeating. The more and oftener restraints, the better. 
Be steady. 

1 Lord Auchinleck provided for his children a series of domestic tutors or 
coaches all young men preparing themselves for the ministry of the Church 
of Scotland who lived in the family and drilled the boys in their lessons. 
"Surly tutor" sounds like the second of these, the Reverend Joseph 
Fergusson, who came when Boswell was twelve. 

2 "Neglect," "respect," &c., regularly dropped the final t in Scots pronun- 
ciation of the eighteenth century. 

3 This portentous document, headed "Inviolable Plan, to be read over fre- 
quently," has been preserved, and is in some respects the theme song of this 
volume, but Boswell has anticipated so much of it in his memoranda that it 
seems best to print it in an appendix. See the facsimile opposite, and p. 387. 

4 8 16 October 1763 


For three full weeks, I can with pleasure say, 

I have not f aiTd to write my lines-a-day; 

And what is more, though careless oft and rude, 

Johnson himself would call them very good. 

At diff rent seasons diff 'rent poets sing: 

Great Milton's fancy brighten'd in the spring; 

And Shakespeare's noblest pow'r in winter came, 

For then the playhouse brought him gold and fame. 

Sure, I am blest with a melodious mind, 

Who ev'ry day poetic ardour find. 

[c. 17-18 OCTOBER. FRENCH THEMES] "Holland certainly has 
a very harsh climate, dangerous to strangers who have been 
brought up in a temperate region. There are horrible fogs and 
excessive cold, but especially a continuous dampness, except in the 
summer months." Thus a discontented man might describe the 
United Provinces, and, I confess, with considerable justice. But 
when one has actually made the experiment of living there, one 
finds that there is no great difference between Holland and other 
countries; that is to say, if a stranger lives well, eats well, drinks 
well, and dresses well and also takes a good deal of exercise, 
which in Holland is absolutely necessary to give a brisk circulation 
to the blood and consequently an agreeable liveliness to the mind. 
If one lives after that fashion and has a suitable occupation, one 
can be very well satisfied. I speak positively, for I speak from 

Nevertheless, I dare not be so bold as to deny that in Holland 
it begins to get cold early in the year. I have had experience of 
that too. If I should deny it, my hands and feet would cry out 
against their master and give him the lie. The fact is that I had 
made a resolution not to have a fire in my rooms before the month 
of November, and for several evenings I have studied three or four 
hours on end shivering like an Italian greyhound, and sometimes I 
have sat up to one o'clock in the morning enduring the most dis- 
agreeable sensations. But finally I had the honour of dining with 

1 7-1 8 October 1 763 49 

the Count of Nassau, the Grand Bailiff of Utrecht, where I found 
a good fire so comfortable that I began that same evening to in- 
dulge myself with the like satisfaction; and tell me if I have not 
done well! 

TUESDAY 18 OCTOBER. You was a little irregular yesterday, 
but it was but for one day to see the Utrecht concert. You don't like 
it, and you're not to go any more. . . . 

WEDNESDAY 1 9 OCTOBER. After this let your mems give first 
a little sketch of the former day. Mark what was right and what 
wrong, and then give directions for the following day. Yesterday 
you was not up till nine, and so was a little hurried. You did not 
give strict enough attention to Civil Law, which is very necessary 
as an elegant study to be kept in mind. You talked too drole at 
Brown's, and your version is too much a piece of diversion to the 
company. 4 You talked too much in vivacious style to Rose, and a 
little too much to Guiffardiere. 5 You sat up too late. Today return 
to the charge. Ever remember your sad shock, and you'll never fall 
into cold, insipid indolence. Ever remember duty. Read version 
comic today after dinner, and to Carron, but after this to Brown 
alone before dinner. Take care; retenue. 

[c. 20 OCTOBER. FRENCH THEME] A nightcap is a most excel- 
lent invention, for nothing is more wholesome than to have the 

4 He had made a collection of unfamiliar French words for several days, 
and then had written a nonsense story to get them all in. 

5 "The subject of my next discourse is Monsieur Guiffardiere, a truly curious 
and wonderful subject. This young man is a native of Hainault. He has 
never been in England, and yet he can not only read but speak the English 
language perfectly well. He has been a great deal in the company of English 
people, but I have seen several foreigners who have spent a long time in 
England and yet could not speak so well as Monsieur Guiffardiere does. 
He has a great deal of vivacity, and I am told that in his youth he was an 
amorous and gallant man who always loved the society of ladies, and perhaps 
was sometimes a worshipper in the temple of Venus. But now he has become 
a reverend priest [i.e., a Protestant clergyman]" (French Theme, c. 28 Sep- 
tember 1763). Guiffardiere later became French reader to Queen Charlotte 
and instructor in history to the royal princesses: he appears in Fanny 
Buraey's Diary as "Mr. Turbulent." His levity always shocked Boswell, a 
situation which he was aware of and deliberately exploited. 

go 20 October 1 763 

head well covered from the dampness of the night air, especially 
when the pores are open and the whole body relaxed by sleep. It is 
highly necessary in order to preserve the teeth, and the teeth are 
highly necessary to man. Without those useful members he cannot 
speak gracefully^ for he whistles like an old woman of eighty. And 
besides (a thing even more to be deplored) he cannot eat meat. 
Monsieur Castillon, although a very learned man, is a sad example 
of this. His teeth are so bad that for several years he has eaten 
nothing but hash. Unknown to him are the robust joys of greedily 
devouring a great piece of beef or mutton. Poor man! he is going 
to Berlin. I hope with all my heart that that jesting rogue the 
Marquis d'Argens 6 never sees him eat, for fear that he will turn 
him to ridicule. 

SATURDAY 22 OCTOBER. You did very well yesterday, only 
you transgressed a little in talking of yourself. Let your memoran- 
dum always give a just review of the past day, and that will assist 
you to regulate the future Think no more at present of mar- 
riage; rather take a little freedom like the patriarchs. But at present 
study is enough. This day is market-day. Walk, finish first book of 
Xenophon. Read much of Clarke, and be ready to write to Temple 
clearly in favour of Revelation. 7 Bring up journal. 


Th' approach of Sunday still I can't but dread, 
For still old Edinburgh 8 comes into my head, 

6 The Marquis d'Argens, French miscellaneous writer and friend of Voltaire, 
had become chamberlain to Frederick the Great and Director of Fine Arts in 
Fredericks Academy at Berlin. 

7 On 24 May 1763 (BoswelVs London Journal, * 7^2-* 7^3, 1950) Johnson 
had recommended to Boswell the reading of Dr. Samuel Clarke's Discourse 
Concerning the Being and Attributes of God, a famous work in defence of 
"the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Revelation." Boswell in Holland 
put into practice a great deal more of Johnson's program for him than has 
hitherto been realized. 

8 Read as two syllables. "A robust Caledonian was telling in the Scots pro- 
nunciation that he was born in Embro. Indeed!' said an English physician: 

23 October 1763 51 

Where on that day a dreary gloom appears, 
And the kirk-bells ring doleful in your ears. 
Enthusiasts sad, how can you thus employ 
What your Redeemer made a day of joy? 
With thankful hearts to your Creator pray, 
From labour rest, be cheerful and be gay. 
Let us not keep the Sabbath of the Jews; 
Let generous Christians Christian freedom use. 

SUNDAY 23 OCTOBER. Yesterday you was still too jocular 
and talked of yourself, particularly of your whoring, which was 
shameful; however, you continue your plan of study, and you make 
no great deviations. Lesser things must come by degrees. Try firmly 
this week never once to speak of yourself. It will be great. Go to 
French church. Then home and read Xenophon and bring up 
journal clear today. You have a good deal to insert. If you can once 
be silent and have habits of study and manly thought and conduct, 
you will do well and may marry a woman of the best family in 
England. Bravo 1 But be prudent. 

[c. 24 OCTOBER. FRENCH THEME] . . . But in England there 
are the oratorios of Handel, which are truly most sublime. 9 My 
friend Mr. Sheridan, 10 who is always charmed by the music of these 
oratorios, used to regret that Handel was a foreigner and did not 
perfectly understand the English language, because as a result of 
his ignorance the music is sometimes not well fitted to the words. In 
The Messiah they are always singing, "Who is the King of Glory?" 

'upon ray word, the prettiest abortion I ever saw' " (Boswelliana, ed. Dr. 
Charles Rogers, p. 213, where Boswell records that he had the story from 
Patrick Craufurd of Rotterdam) . 

9 The three themes preceding this have all been on the subject of music. 

10 Actor, theatre-manager, and (by preference) teacher of elocution; father 
of the more famous Richard Brinsley Sheridan, who was at this time a boy 
of twelve. Boswell had adopted Thomas Sheridan as his mentor in Edinburgh 
in 1761, where Sheridan had come to give a series of lectures, and had been 
much in Sheridan's house during the period covered by the London Journal, 

52 24 October 1763 

and "I am the King of Glory," and so lose the noble sense of the 
words entirely by putting on "is" and "0ra" the accent which ought 
to be on "Who" and "/": "Who is the King of Glory?" "I am the 
King of Glory." We also have plenty of very good church music, 
and for English songs Mr. Arne is certainly excellent. Indeed, his 
opera Artaxerxes has abundance of merit. We have besides a num- 
ber of other musicians of whom I will speak in my next theme. 1 

[Received 24 October, Lord Auchinleck to Boswell] 

Auchinleck, 8 October 1 763 

MY DEAR SON, Since you went to Holland, I have had the 
pleasure to receive two of your letters: the first from Ley den, to 
which I wrote an answer addressed, as you desired, Au Neuf 
Chateau d'Anvcrs; the other, which is dated from Utrecht the 8th 
of September, is now before me. I am glad you are settled to your 
mind, though I suspect that upon trial you will find inconvenience 
in having a house by yourself. Lodgings in a discreet family are 
comfortable, give less to do in the affair of housewifery, and give 
more opportunity for converse without ceremony; and the only 
way of acquiring a foreign language is to speak it hardiment, as the 
French say. And the French people have no disposition to laugh at a 
blunder in a stranger when attempting to speak their language, 
an absurdity that is remarkable in the English; nay, they are so 
shy to let a stranger know he has blundered that in place of a 
formal correction, they will repeat your question, putting it in good 
French that you may thereby learn how to express the thing on 
another occasion. This I have often remarked; and therefore it is 
absolutely necessary for you to attend not only to the subject, but 
to every word that is spoke. 

I think you did well to take a little tour before the colleges sat 

1 He mentions Karl Friedrich Abel and Felice di Giardini. "Mr. Abel," he 
says, "is a German, and ho does not take it in good part when people say 
he composes Italian music. He said to me, 'Sir, that is not Italian music or 
German music: it is music that comes down from heaven.' " 

24 October 1763 53 

down. Amsterdam is a fine city. The Stadthouse, which is a noble 
edifice, was all built with stones furnished by your great-grand- 
father, the Earl of Kincardine. I have the contract between him 
and the burgomasters in relation to it. 2 There was a namesake of 
ours, James Boswell, a turner, an old acquaintance of mine who 
was fixed there; and one of the ministers of the English church 
there, Mr. Longueville, was born in Dickstoun, the next house to 
Tenshillingside, a very worthy man who is by marriages in opu- 
lent circumstances and would have shown you great civility had 
you called on him and let him know who you were. 

You desire to know my landlord's name at Leyden. It was 
Ramach; he lived op de hoek van de VliU in the street called the 
Rapenburg. My landlady, with whom I stayed before she married 
him, was called the Widow Boene. He was a tailor to his trade. 

Your plan of passing time for your improvement is proper. 
When you read and take notes regularly, you'll find great profit, 
for the taking of notes ascertains your attention and at the same 
time rivets the thing in your memory. I would recommend to you 
as the best preservative against melancholy and vice never to be 
idle but still to be employed in something; this is the only specific 
against these maladies. And for that reason you should endeavour 
to acquire a taste for as many things as you think you may in afte* 
life command as is possible. Reading is the great point indeed. But 
as you are now in a country where gardening is in perfection, you 
should be at pains to learn it, and by that means when you come 
home can execute many pretty things. You'll likewise see the 
method the Dutch manage their cattle, and take notes of it. I would 
wish to be informed of the method by which they keep their cows so 
clean, for my remembrance of it is dark. They had a contrivance 

2 Alexander Bruce (d. 1680), second Earl of Kincardine, was an eminent 
royalist who followed Charles II into exile. In 1659, at The Hague, he mar- 
ried a Dutch heiress, Veronica van Sommelsdyck, their daughter, Lady 
Elizabeth Bruce, married James Boswell of Auchinleck. Lord Auchinleck 
got from Lord Kincardine his Christian name of Alexander. Lord Kincardine 
owned quarries of stone and of marble at Culross in Fif eshire. 

54 24 October 

for making their dung no way offensive to them, and a way of 

watering them in a trough, as I think. Write me as to this and 

mention the measures, that so one might execute it here. 3 You'll 

be frequently, I hope, with Count Nassau, who is, I hear, a fine 


Sir David Dalrymple is either married or just on the point 
of being to Miss Brown, Lord Coalston's daughter. We are all here 
in our ordinary, and all join in compliments to you. Harvest is 
mostly over; it has been good and plentiful. May GOD bless and 
preserve you. I am your affectionate father, 


WEDNESDAY 26 OCTOBER. Yesterday was an excellent day. 
Remember it with satisfaction. You did all your business well and 
with spirit. You talked freely to Brown and bid him be a monitor to 
warn you of deviations, and he agreed to do so and gave you high 
applause for your conduct. Pray persevere. Consider that this hap- 
piness is wrought out by study, by rational conduct, and by piety. 
It is the natural effect of these causes; and you may ever be so. Be 
fixed in your general Plan, and never admit fancies to lead you 
from it. Send today at ten for your discourse for the Society, 4 and 
prepare little repast and pipes. Never forget your Plan a moment. 
Always be improving. 

[c. 26 OCTOBER. FRENCH THEME] There is a musical society 
in London called the Catch Club . . . There are many members, 
among them many people of quality and fashion and also some of 
the best singers in England. They give every year a prize of ten 
guineas to the person who submits the best song, both as regards 
words and music. They have a truly excellent collection. The 
subjects are gay: they celebrate the pleasures of wine and of love. 
The words are for the most part spirited and the accompanying 
tunes match them in liveliness. These songs are composed in three 

* "So that one might build the same things here." 

* See above, p. 43 n. 4. He had perhaps left it with Brown or Carron to be 

26 October 1763 55 

parts, and when properly executed have really a very agreeable 
harmony. Lord Eglinton 5 is one of the most famous members of 
this society. He sings in charming taste. He had the goodness to 
teach me some songs. When I return to England, I hope to learn 
more. My Lord did me the honour to say that there were not three 
better ears in the whole society than mine. How many happy eve- 
nings have I passed at his house, singing! But he is not merely a 
singer. He is truly a man of distinguished mind. I could celebrate 
his perfections here, but we must always keep to our subject, and 
mine at present is music. There is a very pretty kind of music in 
Scotland: it is sweet, melancholy, and natural. They say that David 
Rizzio, the musician of the Scottish queen, the fair Mary, is its 
author. Perhaps that ingenious Italian did mingle the airs of his 
country with those of Scotland. I mean, that he gave the airs of 
Scotland a little of the tenderness of Italy. In the mountains of 
Scotland they have music that is undoubtedly original. Their slow 
airs are very pathetic and their quick ones (reels} have an astonish- 
ing vivacity. They are the best dance-tunes in the world. 

FRIDAY 28 OCTOBER. You did charmingly yesterday. You 
attended well to everything 


The farther up the hill of life we rise, 

The less we feel the passion of surprise. 

Our wonder deaden'd by successive change, 

We come at last to reckon nothing strange. 

Had any cunning man foretold as how 

I should become enamour'd of a vrouw: 

That my keen eyes with warmest love should rove 

O'er features parch'd by fumigating stove, 

Even at the age when I was flogg'd at school, 

I should have thought him a consummate fool. 

5 A rakish but able Scots nobleman who had been very kind to Boswell 
during both of his visits to London and had "introduced him into the circles 
of the great, the gay, and the ingenious." See above, p. i. 

56 3 1 October 1763 


And yet just now a Utrecht lady's charms 

Make my gay bosom beat with love's alarms. 

Who could have thought to see young Cupid fly 

Through Belgia's thick and suffocating sky? 

But she from whom my heart has caught the flame 

Has nothing Dutch about her but the name. 

Let not an ear too delicate recoil 

And start fastidious when I say "De Zoile"; 

So mere a trifle I can change with ease: 

Your tender niceness will "Zelida" please? 6 

MONDAY 31 OCTOBER. Yesterday you did not at all keep to 
rules as you ought to do. You had sat late up and rose irregular. 
You went to Guiffardiere at eleven and talked too foolishly and too 
freely. At night you was absurdly bashful before Miss de Zuylcn. 
You went up to Rose's room to .read Greek; you laughed too much. 
You are sure you was not behaving properly when Rose talked of 
you by the name of Boswell before your face. 7 You put on foolish 
airs of a passion for Miss de Zuylen. ... Be always candid to 
censure in your mems, and you'll amend. 

6 This is Boswell's first reference to Isabella Agneta Elisabeth van Tuyll 
van Serooskerken, concerning whom his heart was to be in a state of alternat- 
ing attraction and repulsion for the next four and a half years. For a full 
note on the relationship, see p. 293. She seems generally to have preferred 
to be known by the familiar name Belle de Zuylen, the name Zelide, by 
which Boswell always addressed her after they really became intimate, 
being a self-conscious literary style which she adopted in writing her "por- 
trait" of herself (see p. 184) but appears not to have used elsewhere. "Tuyll" 
is the family name, "Zuylen" (modern Dutch Zuilen) the name of the 
village near Utrecht from which her father took his principal title of nobil- 
ity. Boswell very seldom uses the family name, his ordinary designation 
being "de Zuyl." In this instance he wrote "de Zoile," and that spelling 
has been allowed to stand because it looks like a better rhyme for "recoil." 
The correspondence of sound was in fact fairly close. 

7 That is, when he allowed Rose to refer to him as "Boswell" rather than 
as "Mr. Boswell." 

31 October 1763 57 

[31 OCTOBER. FRENCH THEME] It is certain that I have the 
greatest desire to learn French, but I fear that I am not learning 
it quickly. Perhaps my keen desire makes me think myself worse 
in acquiring the language than I am. I certainly take a great deal 
of pains to improve. I write two pages of a theme every morning. 8 
I read for two hours in the works of Voltaire every evening. When 
I do not understand words perfectly, I look them up in the diction- 
ary, and I write them down with their meanings. Every Wednes- 
day I have the pleasure of passing the evening in a literary society 
where it is not permitted to speak a word of anything but French; 
and I dine at Mr. Brown's, where there are two ladies who do not 
speak English, and where for that reason it is always necessary to 
speak French. Yet I cannot observe that I am making rapid prog- 
ress. In writing, I am slow and clumsy, and in speaking I have 
great difficulty in expressing myself and often make terrible 
blunders. Instead of saying, "Would you like to play at shuttle- 
cock?" (volant), I said, "Would you like to play at robber?" 
(voleur); and instead of, "Mademoiselle, I am entirely at your 
service" (tout ce qu'il vous plaira)., I said, "Mademoiselle, I am 
something (quelque chose) that will please you." 9 Such blunders 
make a man very ridiculous. But I must not be downhearted. Very- 
soon I hope to acquire propriety of language. I confess that we do 
not speak French at Mr. Brown's as assiduously as we ought. Lazi- 
ness disposes us to speak English and sometimes barbarous Latin. 

8 He had started with one, and even at this period sometimes managed only 
one; on other occasions he probably wrote several to make up. But his plan 
was to write exactly two pages each day, Sundays included. 

9 About this time he drew up in French a list of the "howlers (bevues) made 
by Monsieur Boswell in learning to speak French," but neglected to continue 
it. Besides the two bevues mentioned above, he records the following: Je 
suis trop recherch^ for Je cherche trop mes mots; Je suis bien chaud for Tai 
bien chaud; Les magistrats d' Utrecht ont besoin de faire allumer la ville 
for illuminer, &c.; En Suisse les fourneaux sont bien peignes for peints. His 
Je suis tout ce qu'il vous plaira is hardly more idiomatic than his admitted 
bevue. He could have said Mademoiselle, tout ce qu'il vous plaira or Je ferai 
tout ce qu'il vous plaira. 

8 31 October 1763 

But after today (Monday 31 October) I am determined never to 

speak except in French. Let us see if I have any resolution. 

[Received 31 October, John Boswell, M.D., to Boswell] 1 

Edinburgh, Monday 1 7 October 1 763 

have been in writing you, yet can assure my good friend he has 
never been out of my heart as well as memory since I left him at 
the entry to St. Paul's. 2 One accidental meeting there, and one part- 
ing bottle at the tavern there, I can never forget; and indeed, the 
whole of one unexpected (to me lucky) meeting at London will 
ever be remembered by me as one of the most agreeable incidents 
of my life, as it was then I had confirmed to me the former opinions 
I had conceived very early of you. I hope however the friendship 
that is begun will increase; and although never could Mason say 
more heartily than you and I, "Happy to meet, happy to part," yet 
above all, happy on the thought to meet again. . . . 3 

I delivered your letter and paid the money mentioned to your 
friend Mr. Johnston, and find him a man according to our own 
hearts after the flesh, and hope to have him for an agreeable friend 
so long as I shall stay here. He is now at Annandale. I bid him send 
his letters either to me (for you) or to direct them for you as I've 
done this. 

I have scarce ever been settled since I came home, and nay 

1 Boswell's uncle, Lord Auchinleck 7 s only surviving brother, a physician 
of Edinburgh. He and Boswell resembled each other in temperament much 
more than either resembled Lord Auchinleck. Dr. Boswell had been in Lon- 
don during part of Boswell's recent stay there. 

2 24 July 1763: see EosweWs London Journal, 1762-1763, 1950, p. 323. 

3 Boswell had been admitted a Mason in Canongate Kilwinning Lodge, No. 
2, Edinburgh, as early as his nineteenth year (Dr. Boswell at the time 
being Depute Master), and had already served as Junior Warden of his 
lodge. He later became R. W. Master of Canongate Kilwinning and finally 
Depute Grand Master for Scotland. One of the marks of the congeniality of 
temperament existing between Boswell and his uncle was that they were 
both ardent Masons. Lord Auchinleck held the Craft in contempt. 

31 October 1763 59 

brother and I have scarce ever exchanged a word on any subject. 
Only in general I have, I hope, given both he and lady satisfaction 
concerning a son of theirs now at Utrecht. I beg you'll make my 
compliments to him and tell him I hope he'll not allow me to be 
classed amoiigst the bad judges and prophets. 

I long to hear you are pleased with Holland, and Utrecht in 
particular, and that you are satisfied now I was not imposing upon 
you when I commended it as a polite, literatury 4 place. There is one 
Boswell there, a bookseller, whom you'll certainly find out and 
inquire his origin. Hopes you'll write me a full account of all the 
celebrated professors now there, and also who are the first toasts. 
Did you see Gaubius. . . ? 5 How did you like Leyden? Do you begin 
to roke 6 a pipe, Mynheer? 

We are now here very quiet, but on Friday first there is to be 
a grand procession of all the Freemasons from the Parliament 
House to the North Loch in order to lay the foundation stone of the 
new bridge. 7 We have had very inconstant weather, only these two 
or three days bypast better than any we had in July or August. I 
beg you'll write very particularly and give me all your arguments 
for a certain friend of yours 8 settling at London, &c. All your 

friends at Affleck 9 were well last week I'll endeavour to write 

you a better letter next time. May GOD eternally bless you, &c. 


[c. 2-3 NOVEMBER. FRENCH THEMES] . . . But after all these 
profound reasonings on breeches, 1 1 should like to know what is the 
best material to make them of. I am now wearing a kind of black 

4 An adjective from "literature"; a useful invention of Dr. BoswelTs. 

5 Jerome David Gaubius was a physician of some distinction at Leyden. Dr. 
Boswell knew him well and had probably been his pupil. 

6 Smoke (Dutch, roken). 

1 The North Bridge, the first effective outlet from the City across the North 
Loch and first step in the formation of the New Town. 

8 Dr. Boswell himself. 

9 Dr. BoswelTs spelling is here preserved as indicating how the name Auchin- 
leck was universally pronounced in the eighteenth century, 

1 A page and a half on breeches precedes this extract. 

6o 2-3 November 1763 

stuff made, I think, at Utrecht. It is composed of linen and silk, but 
it is extremely thin and does not wear well. I have worn breeches 
made of this stuff only three or four weeks, and they are already 
miserably torn. I am much ashamed of them. When I play at 
shuttlecock with our young lady, 2 1 sweat for fear she will discover 
so excellent a subject for teasing me. It surprises me, indeed, that 
she has not discovered it before now, because they are torn between 
the legs, rather before than behind, and when I play warmly, I 
straddle like a very Colossus. But she is a modest girl and does not 
wish to see such shameful things, and if by chance she had seen 
them, she would pretend the contrary. I commend her much for not 
looking at my t^rn breeches, but I should commend her more if she 
would have the goodness to mend them. 3 She can do it without risk 
when I have taken them off. Breeches are improper only when they 
are on my backside. In themselves they are no more than simple 
and innocent objects. If Mademoiselle would do me the favour I 
ask, no one could find anything to blame her for, except perhaps a 
superstitious prude whom nobody should pay any attention to. 

1 myself have known an old maid who was so very scrupulous that 
she would not for anything in the world pronounce the word 
"breeches" in English, which was her native tongue. She would not 
pollute her lips by saying "a pair of breeches," but would only pro- 
nounce the first letter. She always said, "A pair of b s." 

I undertake to be Mademoiselle's knight-errant if she will 
kindly mend my breeches with her own fair hand. I have the 
honour to say that it is not the first time I have asked and obtained 
such a favour. My breeches have been mended by ladies before 
now. They have been mended by the most famous beauty in the 
north of Scotland, and even when I had them on. 4 I must admit, 
however, that it was only in one of the knees. 

SUNDAY 6 NOVEMBER. Let your Inviolable Plan be read only 

2 Mrs. Brown's younger sister, Marguerite Kinloch, about twenty-one years 

3 Boswell wrote all this planning to read it at Brown's in Mademoiselle 

Kinloch's presence. 

4 Boswell gives no further clues as to this lady's identity, 

6 November 1763 61 

every Saturday morning, and judge by it impartially how you have 
passed the week. Resist not every good impression. This night 
you wrote this when just returned from Mr. Brown's at twelve at 
night. You felt high satisfaction at looking back on two months 
spent in study and in propriety. You found real satisfaction in 
religion and piety. You determined never to relax in your warfare; 
and always to have a consistent conduct, and by rehearsing to pre- 
pare for real life. 

This night, when you are in your best moments, sound in under- 
standing and contented and happy, you are sensible that you deal 
too hardly with yourself at times. Remember this. If you are mind- 
ful of your duty to GOD, repent of your offences, endeavour to 
raise your mind by piety, by thinking on the certainty of death 
and on the dignity of human nature, and if you do your duty as 
a student and be guilty of no folly, you are very well. You are sub- 
ject to gloom, as the prettiest men have been. You are not then to 
judge of yourself. You are to be patient. 

[c. 8 NOVEMBER. FRENCH THEME] I have certainly caught a 
cold. I feel its dreadful effects. My nose is stuffed, I breathe with 
great difficulty. I have a sad headache, and I have severe chills all 
over my body. A "cold" is really a fever. It is often the beginning 
of the most dangerous illnesses. I must take care of myself now: I 
should not like to die in this country of fogs. Simonides says that it 
is all one where one dies, because there is "everywhere a passage to 
the other world." But although I have great respect for that excel- 
lent philosopher, I cannot be of his opinion on this subject. For my 
part, I hope to die at Auchinleck, in London, or in Edinburgh, and 
in my last moments to have an Anglican clergyman to read me the 
divine service and aid me in lifting my soul to GOD and in meditat- 
ing on the felicity of glorified spirits 

[Boswell to Temple] 

Utrecht, 9 November 1 763 

MY DEAR TEMPLE, That Mr. Gray advises you to go into the 
Church, I am much rejoiced to hear. I know that his opinion will 

62 9 November 1763 

have the weight with you which the opinion of a man of distin- 
guished good sense, learning, and worth ought to have. Besides, 
there is a secret satisfaction, a gratification of vanity not unworthy 
of the best, in having so great a bard for a counsellor, which may 
also incline you to pursue the path which he points out. 

Indeed, my friend, you are born to be a clergyman. Your ami- 
able dispositions and mildness of manners are excellently fitted for 
that character. You are devoted to study, to virtue, and to friend- 

You tell me that you have a material objection. You are very 
doubtful with regard to Revelation. That is indeed material. There 
are, to be sure, many infidels in orders, who, considering religion 
merely as a political institution, accept of a benefice as of any civil 
employment, and contribute their endeavours to keep up the useful 
delusion. But, my dear Temple, you have too much delicacy of 
sentiment to entertain such an idea of duplicity, and too much 
honour to think of propagating fraud, though dignified with the 
name of pious. . . . 6 

And now at last I have time to talk of myself. I am much in- 
debted to you for your concern in my welfare. (Upon second 
thoughts, the expression "indebted" ought not to be used between 
real friends. Let me not get into the polite expressions of the Con- 
tinent, where friendship is little known.) I am convinced that I 
ought to have hopes of enlarging my plan, and of being in Parlia- 
ment. I am convinced too that my rising in the world must depend 
in some measure on my marriage. Your mentioning an alliance 
with an English family of rank and fortune gave a spring to my 
ambition. Let me not despair of making such an alliance. 

My late scheme of matrimony I am sensible was a bad one. I 
must not think of that important step for some years, especially as 
I have yet to travel and to settle my conduct in life. I had inflamed 
my imagination by thinking on the amiable Miss Stewart, and did 
not see the whimsical appearance which a courtship in postscripts 
must have made. I have a strange turn towards marriage. I have 
5 An extended and earnest defence of the Christian revelation follows. 

9 November 1763 63 

distressed you with consultations upon that head from the begin- 
ning of our friendship. While I have such a friend to whom I can 
lay open even my weakest fancies, I shall be happy. My flourish 
about intrigues and duels was an intemperate sally of high spirits. 
... I ever remain your most affectionate friend, 


[c. 9-10 NOVEMBER. FRENCH THEMES] ...In speaking of 
[a cold], the French have only one word to express the fact that 
they have come down with one. But the English have two: "I have 
catched cold" and "I have got cold." In my youth I lived for a time 
in the house of the Earl of Eglinton in London, where I had the 
honour to be known to H.R.H. the Duke of York. 6 One day I was 
arguing with him about these expressions concerning a cold, and I 
maintained that we should say "catch cold" for the present or im- 
perfect, but to indicate some time past we should say, "I have got 
cold." The Duke laughed, and was quite willing to confess himself 

In my last theme 7 1 exposed my ignorance of the French lan- 
guage. I said that they had only one word to express having a cold. 
But Mr. Brown, my instructor in French, has told me that there are 
several phrases equally proper in such circumstances. I had a 
strong desire to introduce my conversation with the Duke of York, 
and I admit that I dragged it in by the hair. It rarely happens that a 
young man who has no relations at Court has the honour to be 
known to a prince. My vanity was much flattered by that honour. 

6 Younger brother of George III, a year and a half older than Boswell, and 
heir presumptive to the throne when Boswell met him in 1760. He was a 
violinist of some distinction, a rake, and what the eighteenth century called 
a "rattle." Horace Walpole, writing in 1751, described him as "a very plain 
boy, with strange loose eyes." Boswell had offended him by dedicating to 
him in 1762 a doggerel poem, The Cub at Newmarket, without asking his 

7 The preceding paragraph. It must be remembered that by "theme" Boswell 
means his daily exercise of one or two pages, not all the pages dealing with a 
single topic. 

64 9~~ 10 November 1763 

It was a great matter of pride for a Scot when he returned to his 
own country to speak of the conversations which he had had with 
his Royal Highness. And indeed the thing was well known in Scot- 
land; and as all rumours, whether good or ill, but especially ill, are 
greatly exaggerated, this one was too. The solicitors 8 of Edinburgh, 
as they drank their punch, said that I was quite the companion of 
the Duke of York, that we ran together through the streets of 
London at all hours of the night, and that we made no ceremony 
with each other: it was just "James" and "Ned." At the age of nine- 
teen when I was raw and a dreamer, it was certainly not wrong of 
me to be puffed up with pride because I was known to a prince. But 
now, when I have some experience and begin to be a real philoso- 
pher, how foolish it seems to me to pique myself on a thing so 
trifling! The Duke of York was not a man of dignity nor of extraor- 
dinary genius. He was sunk in debauchery and sometimes made 
himself the companion of the vilest of the human species. I knew 
him only very little and he never did me the least service. . . . 

SATURDAY 12 NOVEMBER. Yesterday was an irregular day. 
You passed three hours at Brown's with Miss de Zuylen. You was 
too much off guard, and gave way too much to instantaneous fancy, 
and was too keen about the Highlanders. You was a little light- 
headed; however, you must not be too severe. For if you never 
mimic, never censure, never talk of yourself , and have piety ever 
in mind, you cannot go wrong. So learn to sit in company and have 
command. Trifle away no time. Be busy this day to atone. At Greek 
hour never speak till 'tis over. Be hard to that. Speak French with 
Rose to learn as soon as possible. Mark German baron learning 
d'etre inf.* Keep firm to study and propriety. 

8 Procureurs. Boswell's actual English word would have been "writers," 
the Scots term for lawyers who are not admitted to plead at the bar. 

9 A story told him by Belle de Zuylen, recorded in his Boswelliana as fol- 
lows (p. 220): "A dull German baron had got amongst the English at 
Geneva, and being highly pleased with their spirit, wanted to imitate them. 
One day an Englishman came into the Baron's room and found him jumping 
with all his might upon the chairs and down again, so that he was all in a 
sweat. 'Mon Dieu! Monsieur le baron,' dit-il, 4 que faites-vous?' ('Good God! 
Baron,* said he, 'what are you about?') 'Monsieur,' replied the Baron, wiping 

12 November 1763 65 

[Received 12 November, Lord Auchinleck to Boswell] 

[Auchinleck, ? October 1763] 

MY DEAR SON, Your letter of the 7th of October, which came 
in due course, gave me uncommon satisfaction, for as I know your 
veracity and can confide in the accounts you give of yourself, I 
now bless GOD that I have the prospect of having comfort in you 
and support from you; and that you will tread in the steps of the 
former Jameses, who in this family have been remarkably useful. 

I quite approve of your plan of study. You may, by the assist- 
ance of Professor Trotz, come to be thoroughly master of the Pan- 
dects, which is the most rational system of law extant, and the 
reasonings in it the most acute and accurate; and Mr. Erskine's 
Institutes of the Scots law are well composed. It will be an enter- 
tainment to compare the two laws of Scotland and of Rome, and 
you'll see that we have in most things followed that great and wise 

Your returning to the study of the Latin and Greek authors 
secures to you a mine of unexhaustible knowledge and entertain- 
ment. There is a peculiar strength of thought and of expression in 
the ancients, a je ne sals quoi which strikes those who understand 
them with reverence. By falling into this way you will find con- 
stant entertainment, and that is the only thing can dispel gloom 
and low spirits. When I have nothing to do, which happens when 
I am from home visiting, time passes heavily; but when I am occu- 
pied, I repine that it is so short. You'll too in Holland probably 
acquire a taste for gardening and send me home some instruction 
about it. In my last I put a query about a Dutch cow-house or byre 
which I suppose you'll solve me in. 

You inquire, and properly inquire, about our Dutch relations, 
that you may be in condition to talk with them when you meet 
them. I shall tell you what I know, and I know a good deal. The 
first of the family of Sommelsdyck who made a conspicuous figure 
was Francis. I shall say nothing as to him, but remit you to a noted 

down his temples with a handkerchief, 'j'apprends d'etre vif ('I am learning 
to be lively')." 

66 12 November 1763 

book entitled Memoir -es pour servir a Vhistoire de Hollande, par 
Monsieur de 1' Aubery du Maurier, who does not speak well of that 
gentleman because you'll see he outwitted the author's father. The 
next person was Cornelius, of whom Monsieur de 1' Aubery gives a 
great character, and indeed he was a great good man. He was my 
great-grandfather and among the richest men in Holland. He had 
one son, who was murdered in a mutiny at Surinam, of which he 
was at the time Governor; for you must know the family has the 
property of a third part of that valuable island, and power to put in 
the Governor per vices, or every third vice along with the States of 
Holland. And, besides that son, Cornelius had seven daughters who 
got great fortunes; four of them were married: one to the Earl of 
Kincardine, my grandfather; her name was Veronica van Aerssen 
van Sommelsdyck. I have their contract of marriage in my posses- 
sion, signed by the Earl and her and by her father, Cornelius 

The late Admiral Sommelsdyct, to whose civilities I was much 
obliged when in Holland in the years 1727 and 1728, was son to 
him who was murdered in Surinam. He left one son, Francis, who 
is the present Heer van Sommelsdyck, and three daughters, one of 
whom is dead, unmarried; the other two are married to nobles; but 
Monsieur Chais, to whom I shall get you a new letter, 1 will inform 
you more particularly, as he was and is a great intimate in the 
family. . . . 

I have only to add that I approve of your dining with Mr. 
Brown; he has a good character. Your mother remembers you with 
affection, as does Johnny. I must cut short for making my letter 
close. 2 Farewell, my dear son, be steadfast in the good way. I am 
your affectionate father, 


I have no room to mention books to be bought. 
10 "In turn." 

1 The Reverend Charles Pierre Chais, Swiss Protestant clergyman and author, 
was pastor of the French church at The Hague. Apparently Boswell's letter of 
introduction to Monsieur Chais had miscarried or been mislaid. 

2 That is, "must stop writing so as to leave enough blank paper to cover my 
letter when it is folded." 

13 November 1763 67 

SUNDAY 13 NOVEMBER. Yesterday you did extremely well. 
You received a letter from your worthy father which warmed your 
heart and gave you new vigour to pursue a proper course. . . . 

[c. 14 NOVEMBER. FRENCH THEME] There is a dreadful up- 
roar in Great Britain because the Tories are in favour at Court. 
"Tory" was a jeering word used to express an Irish savage, and the 
republican faction gave that appellation to the loyalists 3 in Eng- 
land. Mr. Johnson in his Dictionary defines a Tory thus: "A man 
who adheres to the ancient constitution of the State, and the apos- 
tolical hierarchy of the Church of England," and certainly that is a 
good definition. The Court undoubtedly does well to show favour to 
so respectable a party, who are in truth the firmest friends of the 

Constitution They have been discontented for several reigns, 

because they hoped to restore the House of Stuart. At the present 
time they are convinced that such a revolution would not be for 
their country's happiness. They see that the succession is well estab- 
lished in the House of George, and they have become its friends, 
and, thank GOD, by that change we may hope for a well regulated 
government. When I speak of the reigning house, I always say "the 
House of George." It is perhaps a prejudice, but although the 
family of Brunswick or Hanover is a distinguished family, I do not 
like to recall that the king of our glorious nation is merely a prince 
of Germany, with one of those barbarous names Guelf , 4 1 believe. 
But George the Third is born a Briton, and he has the heart of a 
Briton. He is a perfectly amiable man; perhaps his virtues are more 
amiable than great. There has as yet been no occasion to determine 
his character. 

SATURDAY 19 NOVEMBER .... You have struggled, you have 
conquered. . . . 

WEDNESDAY 23 NOVEMBER. Yesterday you did upon the 
whole very well. Your version, your Dutch, and your Greek went 

3 That is, to those loyal to the House of Stuart; to the Jacobites. 
* Boswell originally spelled it "Wolfe"; "Guelf," though possibly in his own 
hand, was I think a correction by Carron or Brown. "Guelf," as a m **er of 
fact, is an Italian spelling of the German name Welf. 

68 23 November 1763 

well. You plagued Mademoiselle a little and made the ignorant 
being think you impertinent. Guard against seeming so. At night 
you had truly an adventure. You saw an entertainment of Dutch 
students; a concert; all keen on meat and drink; then marching like 
schoolboys with Kapitein and frightening the street. Then home; 
then saw the masks, and one like woman; then house again con- 
ditionless drank roaring songs. King George. 6 Compliments paid 
you, &c. Mark all in journal. Be retenu but amusing at Brown's. 

THURSDAY24NOVEMBER. Yesterday you recovered very well 
after your riot with the Dutch students. But remember how near 
you was to getting drunk and exposing yourself, for if you had 
gone on a little longer, you could not have stopped. You have im- 
portant secrets to keep. Though you are sorry for the crimes, yet 
preserve a warm affection and gratitude to the persons and show it 
when you meet, disinterestedly; and in the mean time always shun 
drinking, and guard lips 

[c. 24-26 NOVEMBER. FRENCH TnEMEs] 7 . . . Soon my Lord 
Bute was made Groom of the Stole, as they say in England, a very- 
honourable office. He is master of the King's wardrobe. In these 
themes I can never resist anything laughable that presents itself, 
whether there is occasion for it or not. In this I follow the example 
of Rabelais, Tristram Shandy, and all those people of unbridled 
imagination who write their books as I write my themes at ran- 
dom, without trying to have any order or method; and for that 

8 The writing is crowded and the transcription not altogether certain. I 
interpret the passage to mean that he joined a group of students who were 
drinking and singing noisily; that every person present had unconditionally 
to drink all the toasts and propose one himself; that Boswell's toast was 
King George. 

6 A reference to his intrigues in Scotland with women of fashion and reputa- 
tion. Before he met Samuel Johnson he would not have used the word 
"crime" to describe these amours. 

7 The themes from which this extract has been taken form a digression in 
a long series detailing the current political situation in England. Lord Bute, 
George Ill's unpopular favourite and prime minister, had resigned office 
in the previous April. 

24-26 November 1763 69 

reason they have acquired great reputation among people of un- 
regulated vivacity who do not wish to give themselves the trouble 

of thinking even in their amusements I recall that when I was 

very young in Scotland I believed that the office of Groom of the 
Stole was Groom of the Stool: that is, I thought the office of master 
of the wardrobe (garderobe) was gentleman of the close-stool 
(selle), because the English words for those very different things 
are almost the same; and I supposed that every time his Majesty 
honoured the temple of Cloacina with his presence, he made use of 
a piece of fine cambric, or rather that it was assigned to him for 
such an occasion and that the gentleman of the wardrobe furnished 
a sufficient quantity of soft paper and took the fine cloth as a per- 
quisite for himself, or rather for his wife; and that it is not impos- 
sible that many ladies of quality in England have worn that cloth 
when their husbands were in the honourable office of gentleman 
of the wardrobe that is to say, according to the conjecture I made 
in my youth. Made, do I say? No, I did not make it; I got it from 
chambermaids, and they perhaps got it from their mothers, and so 
on, ad infinitum. It would be a task worthy the most famous anti- 
quary to discover the origin of that conjecture: that is to say, to find 
the person who first made it. 8 

SATURDAY 26 NOVEMBER. Yesterday you did very well. You 
did your morning business. You dined with the Countess of Nassau, 
and she showed you much respect. The young Count d'Ouwerkerke 
is lively, good-humoured, and quite a little man of the world. The 
governor is a sensible, pretty man. All was elegant and fine. 9 You 

8 The laughable etymology which Boswell rejects is in fact the correct one, 
"stole" in the title "Groom of the Stole" being the mediaeval form of "stool" 
and having nothing to do with garments. The Groom of the Stole had as 
his original function the oversight of the chamber containing the king's 
close-stool. The more refined etymology preferred by Boswell and others 
may have been encouraged by the fact that in mediaeval English garderobe 
meant both "wardrobe" and "privy." 

9 The Countess of Nassau here mentioned was not the wife but the sister-in- 
law of the Grand Bailiff of Utrecht, and was sometimes called Beverweerd 
or Nassau Beverweerd to indicate as much. Since it does not appear that 

7O 26 November 1763 

observed her Ladyship's inquisitive temper. But you had retenue. 
You said nothing of Madam Brown but "fort aimable" and of Mr. 
Brown but "an excellent homme" and you was discreet in talking 
of Miss de Zuylen. You took much, was quite as you could wish. 
The Countess takes you tinder her protection; all will go well. . . . 

SUNDAY 27 NOVEMBER. Yesterday was a charming day. You 
waited on Countess Beverweerd in the morning, quite sweet and 
pretty, as in London. You received your list of ladies. 1 You then 
read three pages of Greek; then dined decently, although a little 
flighty, but you restrained your elation. Brown and Rose foretold 
that the ladies and gaiety would make you negligent. But you re- 
plied with Spanish pride that you had seen too much of these 
things. You then made your tour, quite the man of fashion; was re- 
ceived at two places a little awkward, but made your way, happy to 

she had any living children at this time, "the young Count d'Ouwerkerke" 
was probably a nephew of her husband and also of the Grand Bailiff, her 
husband's brother. "The governor" was no doubt the young Count's tutor. 
The Count of Nassau Beverweerd (whom Boswell seems not to have met 
until 4 December) was approaching seventy. The Countess, at this time 
about thirty, is the subject of a characteristically brilliant and caustic pen- 
portrait by Belle de Zuylen, written about a year later than this: "The 
Countess of Nassau has been brought to bed; people laugh and talk. As for 
me, I see nothing certain in the matter except the pleasure which having a 
child will bring to a woman who otherwise has nothing but an old fool of a 
husband; and without spoiling by vague conjectures the sentiment which 
makes me share her joy, I shall go and congratulate her sincerely. I am 
rather fond of that woman, and I do not know why: her lectures bore me, her 
curiosities are a burden, I am assured that she is not at all my friend although 
she puts on a show of being so and in spite of all that she interests me. The 
singular thing about her, if she really is galante, is that she has none of the 
defects and none of the charms which ordinarily accompany galanterie. 
No jealousy, no bickerings, nothing of the nonchalant self-forgetfulness so 
dangerous but so attractive: her mind is inflexible, she descants, she sub- 
divides, she talks politics in a tone which seems to testify that she does not 
know how to speak of love." By 1766 the Countess's indiscretions had become 
so notorious that Belle was avoiding her company. 

1 A list of ladies of rank and fashion to whom he might pay his respects, 
and so get invited to the assemblies, which were about to begin. 

27 November 1763 71 

hear such a fine character of Sir David; ambitious to imitate it. You 
then had eight pages of version corrected, which was well written, 
and behaved easily. Then you waited on la Comtesse and went to 
les Comtesses d'Aumale. Struck at first entry, &c. Behaved well 
Home with la Comtesse and supped charming, and received in- 
structions, &c., &c 

[List of Ladies Given Boswell by the Countess of Nassau] 

Madame de Tuyll i 2 

Les demoiselles d' Averhoult 3 

Madame d'Amerongen 2 

Madame Maleprade i 

Les Comtesses d'Aumale 2 

Madame Wacht'endorp i 

Mademoiselle Assenburgh i 

Les demoiselles de Bottestein 2 

Madame van den Heuvel (dans le Trans) 8 

La Comtesse d'Efferen i 

Madame Roosmalen 2 

La Comtesse de Boetzelaer i 

Madame Sichterman i 

Mademoiselle de Tuyll i 

Madame de Zuylen 2 

Madame de Guy i 

Madame de Lockhorst 2 

[Received 26 November, Dempster to Boswell] 

Manchester Buildings [London] 19 November 1763 

DEAR BOSWELL, The enclosed letter* you will perceive by the 

date was intended for you long ago. I wrote it in Scotland, trans- 

2 The numbers after the names presumably indicate the number of cards 
to be left. 

3 A street in Utrecht, still extant, south of the Cathedral Square, in the imme- 
diate neighbourhood of the University. * Printed above, p. 19. 

72 26 November 1763 

mitted it to Fordyce at London, who was by that time on his way 
to Edinburgh. There I received it from him again, brought it up 
with myself, and in the hurry of Parliamentary affairs, have car- 
ried it a week in my pocket. All this to prove you may be long of 
hearing from Dempster without being forgotten or neglected by 

I just came to town time enough to witness the prosecution 
against Wilkes. 5 The King insisted on his ministers bringing him 
to punishment, which I am informed they were in some doubts 
about the possibility of. However his Majesty has found the 
House of Commons more zealous and unanimous than any of his 
ministers expected. 

The whole House condemned The North Briton, No. 45, and 
three hundred of the members voted it all the hard names which 
Lord North, Norborne Berkeley, Chace Price, or Bamber Gascoyne 
could bestow upon it. In the course of the debate, Martin of the 
Treasury said the author of that paper in which his character was 
traduced and in which he had received a stab in the dark was a 
coward and a scoundrel. Next morning Wilkes sent him that North 
Briton with his name at bottom. Martin then challenged Wilkes. 
They met in Hyde Park, both parties behaved gallantly, and at the 

5 John Wilkes, the famous demagogue, a Member of Parliament, had con- 
ducted a scurrilous anti-ministerial periodical called The North Briton, in 
the 45th number of which he had called the recent speech from the throne 
(19 April 1763) u the most abandoned instance of ministerial effrontery 
ever attempted to be imposed on mankind," and had insinuated that the King 
had deliberately countenanced a lie in reading it. The Government had 
ordered Wilkes to be prosecuted, and had actually committed him to the 
Tower of London, but because of the bungling methods used by the secre- 
taries of state in arresting him and Wilkes's privilege as a Member of Par- 
liament, the Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas had ordered him to be 
discharged. It was therefore necessary for the Government, if it wished to 
continue its prosecution, to transfer its activities to Parliament; and this it 
did on the very first day of the next session (15 November 1763). Dempster's 
letter carries on from this point. He knew that Boswell would be interested 
in the news, for Boswell had struck up a personal acquaintance with Wilkes 
in London the previous spring. 

26 November 1763 73 

second shot Wilkes received a wound in his lower belly, of which, 
though not in danger, he is at present very ill. Proceedings have 
been stopped against Wilkes till his recovery. 

You must know that Wilkes was just about publishing twelve 
or thirteen copies (printing, indeed, more properly) of a most ex- 
traordinary work entitled An Essay on Woman, a parody on The 
Essay on Man, to which he had likewise added, to complete the 
burlesque, Warburton's notes. The work was inscribed to Fanny 
Murray, and consisted chiefly of a parallel between that courtesan 
and the Blessed Virgin, much in favour of the former. Instead of 
The Universal Prayer was subjoined a parody of Veni Creator. In 
point of obscenity and blasphemy, nothing can surpass this work. 
The Bishop of Gloucester (Warburton) complained of a violation 
of his character and of a breach of privilege. The House of Lords 
have addressed his Majesty to have the author prosecuted accord- 
ing to law. Poor devil, how thick misfortunes fall upon him 1 How 
lucky your jeu <P esprit and Erskine's never was published. 6 It is, 
you find, a serious affair to laugh at a bishop; and so it should, else 
their white wigs, lawn-sleeves, sycophantish dispositions, and hy- 
pocritical lives would render them eternal subjects of ridicule and 

Adieu, you immense rascal. May you and all your posterity be 
damned; may the United Provinces be again reclaimed by the 
Zuider Zee; and if by chance you should escape the deluge, may 
you be doomed to study law in the next town in the world that 
resembles Utrecht. Yours very affectionately. 7 

MONDAY 28 NOVEMBER. Yesterday you did very well. You 
walked an hour. You was prudent at Mr. Brown's, and talked gen- 
teelly of your assemblies; after dinner you joked him too broadly 
on Calvinism. Let him alone. He is a very good man in his way. 
Behave politely to him, and you will reap advantage. Remember, 
you entrusted him with your story. Make him warn you. But be 

6 No copy of this jeu d 'esprit has as yet been found. See p. 13 n. i. 

7 No signature. 

74 28 November 1763 

retenu You went at six to the Grand Bailiff's. . . . You played a 

party 8 with a prince and Miss de Zuylen. You was shocked, or 
rather offended, with her unlimited vivacity. You was on your 
guard; at supper you was retenu. After it you spoke a little too 
much. But you was decent, and better than you imagine. You 
talked like Johnson against Comtesse. How different from two 
years ago! . . . 

[Received 28 November, the Reverend Charles de Guiffardiere to 
Boswell. Original in French] 

Tilburg, 26 November 1763 

SIR: It is with real pleasure that I remember having promised 
to let you hear from me from a country where all the inhabitants, 
to my way of thinking, are aborigines so difficult is it for a 
foreigner to like it. This is, however, the place of my exile, a place 
which is certainly worthy of the Getae and Massagetae of poor 
Ovid. 9 It would need only a poet to sing of it to make it as frightful 
as the coasts of the Black Sea. Judge from all this, lucky man! you 
who live in indolence and pleasure; who every day see Mademoi- 
selle de Zuylen, who play shuttlecock with la belle sceur 1 an hour 
every day; you who read Xenophon with the virtuous and chaste 
La Roche, 2 judge, I say, if deprived as I am of all this, I am not to be 
pitied? In vain I call up my virtue and bravely face all the rigours 
of my fate; my weaknesses and passions speak louder still, and 
there is not a street-porter in Utrecht whose life I do not envy. 

8 That is, a partie, a game of cards. 

9 The poet Ovid was exiled to Pontus for having written inflammatory 
verses (his Ars Amatorid) and for being privy to some Court intrigue the 
details of which remain unknown; he wrote his Tristia there in an effort to 
secure his pardon. 

1 Mademoiselle Kinloch, Brown's sister-in-law. 

2 La Roche, "the Rock," is a nickname for Rose, who was of the family of Rose 
of Kilravock (pronounced Kilrock). But unless the whole passage is ironical, 
I do not know why the pleasure of his company should be grouped with that 
of meeting Mademoiselles de Zuylen and Kinloch. 

28 November 1763 75 

What enchantment, what delicious intoxication, to be every day 
with her whom one loves! to speak to her of love! to listen to an 
adorable mouth uttering with infinite grace the ravishing words, 
"I love you"; to read in her eyes your sentence, your happiness, 
her desires, her uneasiness, and your victory! Ah, Sir, if I am not 
very much mistaken, you are going shortly to triumph over the 
charms of the fascinating De Zuylen and find yourself often in a 
situation to prove the sweet transports that a fond heart feels at 
the feet of the adorable object of its wishes. 

However, when you are sure of your conquest, do not fight 
with useless scruples, thinking that your mistress's honour consists 
in her chastity! Above all, no timidity. And if she ever takes it 
into her head to faint during a tete-a-tete, do not call for help. She 
would not be at all grateful to you for such officiousness. Do not 
be afraid of becoming fickle: a gallant man may be so in love. This 
passion has no other bounds than those set by a vivid imagination; 
and the ability to succeed with many women, excuses, believe me, 
a fault which they even find charming. 

This is, my dear Sir, a French lecture which perhaps will not 
be agreeable to an Englishman's taste: I am far from supposing 
that you need any lessons in love, you who are a hero in gallantry, 
but one loves to talk about what one has frequently felt with such 
delight. Ask La Roche if he does not agree with me. Only heaven 
forbid that he should put in practice the impure morality that he 
so ably addresses to women! 

I beg you to warn Brown of what is going on; I fear greatly 
for the innocence of La Roche and our belle sceur. It would be 
frightful if poor Brown had to maintain them. 

Adieu, my dear Sir; always preserve some <regard> for a man 
who congratulates himself on having known you, and who will 
always esteem you and asks for your friendship. I have the honour 
to be, Sir, your most humble, most obedient servant, 


My address is, In care of M. le Comte de Hogendorp de Hof- 
wegen, a Tilburg. 

76 2g November 1763 

TUESDAY 29 NOVEMBER. Yesterday you did moderately. 
You disputed the misery of life boldly and well against Brown. 
You found him out to be a cunning, hard little man. You must not 
let him attempt to take too much liberty with you. Neither must 
you be disgusted at him, but remember your character will depend 
much on what he says. Fight out the winter here, and learn as 
much as you can. Pray, pray be retenu. man, thou hast a sad 
inclination to talk; now is thy time to cure it! ... 

[Received 30 November, Temple to Boswell] 

Inner Temple [London] 23 November 1 763 
MY DEAR BOSWELL, Your letter was sent to me from Cam- 
bridge. You see I am once more returned to my old habitation. I 
have been here about a month. Though I should prefer London to 
all places in the world if I had a handsome independent fortune, 
yet in my present circumstances it is far from being agreeable to 
me. I do not enjoy life here. My acquaintance, though sensible, are 
very few in number; it is not convenient for me to purchase the 
books I want; nor can I indulge so often with an opera or a play 
as I could wish. In short, when I have read till I desire some relaxa- 
tion, I can find none, and often feel myself very miserable. Indeed, 
I am now convinced that there can be no happiness without busi- 
ness, without something that may enhance and give a sort of zest 
to the pleasures of study, which makes me more solicitous to get 
into orders, or some way of life or other, as soon as possible. . . . 

I am much obliged to you for your last letter. I shall consider 
the subject of it with attention, and hope soon to send you an 
answer that will please you. As Lord Hertford is now at Paris as 
our ambassador, and as Mr. Hume is with him, 3 do not you think 
it would be more for your advantage to spend part of the winter 
there than in the dull uniformity of Utrecht? You will see the 

3 David Hume, at the height of his fame as an historian, had accompanied the 
Ambassador as unofficial secretary. (He later secured the official appoint- 
ment, and for a time in 1765 was charge d'affaires.) The French had received 
him with unparalleled enthusiasm. 

30 November 1 763 77 

best company, you will hear the French tongue spoken in its 
greatest purity, and obtain the acquaintance, perhaps friendship 
and familiarity, of the Buff ons and D'Alemberts of France. Indeed, 
I think it the luckiest incident in the world for you; and you cer- 
tainly would be much to blame to slight it. However, I would not 
have you by any means leave Utrecht without your father's con- 
sent and approbation. If he should be against this step at present 
you can take it in the summer months. 

I am very glad to hear you speak so candidly of your matri- 
monial scheme, and hope yet to pass some months with you at 
your venerable mansion house in Yorkshire, 4 as well as at Auchin- 
leck. . . . 

A sensible history of the reigns of James I and Charles I came 
out the other day, written by a lady: Mrs. Macaulay, Dr. Ma- 
caulay's wife. 5 The style is not good, but she defends the cause of 
Liberty better than any of our historians. This is the character Mr. 
Gray gave me of it today, for I have not seen it myself. It will 
appear odd enough if the most constitutional history of England 
should be written by a woman. She intends carrying it down lower. 
By the by, I have finished Rapin and the Anabasis. 

I make no doubt of your mixing the polite French authors with 
your severer studies. Mr. Gray thinks very highly of them. In 
France, he says, a genius is no rare thing; in England we can 
scarcely produce one in a century. I expect you will be my pre- 
ceptor in French literature. 

4 See pp. 30, 36. 

5 Mrs. Catharine Macaulay, daughter of a wealthy country gentleman of 
anti-aristocratic principles, had been privately educated on the Roman his- 
torians, and wrote "Whig" history in opposition to Hume's "Tory" volumes. 
She was the object of a good deal of ridicule, not all unjustified. Johnson had 
talked to Boswell of her shortly before Boswell's departure for Utirrht: "Sir, 
there is one Mrs. Macaulay in this town, a great republican. I came to her 
one day and said I was quite a convert to her republican system, and thought 
mankind all upon a footing; and I begged that her footman might be allowed 
to dine with us. She has never liked me since. Sir, your levellers count down 
only the length of themselves" (BoswelVs London Journal, 1762-1763, 
1950, p. 320). 

78 3 November 1763 

We are all in a combustion here. Mr. Wilkes has been wounded 
in a duel by Mr. Martin of the Treasury. It was occasioned by 
some reflections in The North Briton and some words that passed 
in the House of Commons. Mr. Wilkes is better. No. 45 is voted 
a false, scandalous, and seditious libel, and is to be burnt by the 
hands of the hangman. It is expected Mr. Wilkes will be expelled 
the House tomorrow. The House of Lords are then to send him to 
Newgate for a profane pamphlet < which >, however, he never 
published; but they say printing in the eye <of the law> is 
publishing, and it seems the Ministry have discovered by low 
<bribery that> he had printed thirteen copies for his own use. It is 
imagined he will leave England and disappoint their revenge. 6 
The pamphlet was written by the late Mr. Potter, and is entitled 
An Essay on Woman. The notes are Mr. Wilkes's, but he supposes 
them the Bishop of Gloucester's. The frontispiece is a Priapus with 
this inscription: ScorTjp Kocrjuov. 7 The Lords proceed against him 
for a breach of privilege in using the name of one of their house. 
But perhaps this is no news to you. . . . 

Do not draw a bill upon me for the guineas, but tell me to 
whom I must pay it, and I shall do so as soon as ever I can. This 
is not grammar, but it docs not signify. I shall return to Cambridge 
about the end of next month. Pray write to me soon, and believe 
me, my dear Boswell, your most affectionate friend, 


Docs Mr. Johnson write to you? Churchill is to be examined 
today by the House of Lords about Wilkes's pamphlet. He ran 
off the other day with a beautiful young lady of fifteen, but is 

6 This proved to be correct. Wilkes, as soon as he was able to travel, eluded 
those set by the Government to watch his movements, and went to Paris to 
visit his daughter, who was in a school there. He intended to return to plead 
his case in the House of Commons on 19 January 1764, but a relapse prevented 
it. The Government refused to accept the evidence of his illness, and caused 
him to be expelled from the House. Being convinced that he was sure to be 
convicted in the prosecutions for libel, he resolved not to return. He was con- 
sequently outlawed, and remained in exile for four years. 

7 "Saviour of the World." 

30 November 1 763 79 

already returned. When the afflicted father asked him when he 
would send back his daughter, he answered perhaps he would 
have done with her in about ten days, Such a monster! 8 
Nicholls has changed his plan and is to take orders. . . . 


Men must not still in politics give law; 
No, Kate Macaulay too her pen must draw, 
That odious thing, a monarch, to revile, 
And drawl of freedom till ev'n Johnson smile. 
Like a Dutch vrouw all shapeless, pale, and fat, 
That hugs and slabbers her ungainly brat, 
Our Cath'rine sits sublime o'er steaming tea 
And takes her dear Republic on her knee; 
Sings it all songs that ever yet were sung, 
And licks it fondly with her length of tongue. 

[c. i DECEMBER. FRENCH THEME] I have just been speaking 
of our House of Commons like a regular scold. I have just been mak- 
ing the most outrageous invectives against its members. I use the 
expression "I have just been making" (}e viens de faire) because so 
far as space is concerned these invectives are very close to what I am 
now writing. They occur in the last page before this. But at the same 
time it must be added that they are not so close in point of time. 
I wrote them yesterday morning. I am devoted to order and cere- 
mony. I have established a decree as irrevocable as the laws of the 
Medes and the Persians to write two pages in French every morn- 
ing, and not to write more. That is why I often break off my subject 
when I am perhaps in the middle of a sentence. I have an excellent 

8 The behaviour of Wilkes's partner in The North Briton, Charles Churchill, 
the reigning poet of the day, was especially scandalous because he was in 
holy orders and had not resigned his charge until the previous January. It 
may be recorded to his credit that he did not desert the "beautiful young 
lady" (a Miss Carr) but continued to protect her, and when he died, about a 
year after the date of this letter, tried in his will to provide an annuity for her 
as well as for his wife. 

8o i December 1763 

memory, and I always remember the next day what I would have 
said if my paper had been long enough. In saying this, I have no 
intention of making you believe that I think by rule, that my sen- 
tences are so exact that they resemble a circle, which you have no 
difficulty in completing if you have made a segment of it. No, 
on the contrary, my sentences have no regular shape. My argu- 
ments, if you will, are sometimes circular, but my sentences 
are very much out of the ordinary. They are like curious porce- 
lain, which the lady of the house has extreme difficulty in 
matching, so as to keep her set complete, when by ill luck a cup 
is broken. The same difficulty in finding a match is observable 
among excellent things; and, truly, I have reason at least to doubt 
whether my sentences are not very fine rather than very odd. 
Oddity itself is sometimes a kind of excellence. But at present I 
wish to argue for true genius. Here are pretty trifles! However, I 
come back to the cause which makes me remember so exactly the 
subject on which I had been writing twenty-four hours previously, 
and that is simply a good memory. 

THURSDAY i DECEMBER. . . . This day at eleven call on la 
Comtesse and return thanks for her great politeness, and tell story, 
and take advice about society; but be prudent. Think in time; re- 
member Johnson. Pleasure ruins the mind. All will be gone if you 
grow loose. Be quite constant as an admirer, and pray learn to con- 
ceal your feelings. Keep to Plan and you'll be happy; how great if 
you stand! 

FRIDAY 2 DECEMBER. Yesterday you did very well. You 
was agreeably surprised to hear that la Comtesse was not a woman 
of gallantry, and yet you was sorry somehow that your virtue was 
not to be put to the trial 

SATURDAY 3 DECEMBER. Yesterday you did very well, and 
you conducted yourself charmingly at the Assembly. Only you 
was a little absent at whist. Hoc age? let that be your motto. Be 
like the Duke of Sully, always active. You are now happily free 
9 u Do the thing at hand." 

3 December 1763 81 

from sickly ideas of vice. Pursue piety and goodness. In a political 
light, you must preserve your vigour to have fine, lively, healthy 
sons. La Comte$$e is charming, delicate, and sentimental. Adore 
her with easy affability, yet with polite distance, and acquire real 
habits of composure. This day bring up journal much. . . . 

[Boswell to Temple] 

Utrecht, 6 December 1763 

MY DEAR FRIEND, By the date of this letter you would imag- 
ine that it was written upon the sixth of this month, but in reality 
I now sit down at one o'clock in the morning of Sunday the fourth 
by a comfortable German stove to talk to you a little before I go to 
sleep. 1 I am in charming spirits. Friends like you and I should 
participate everything. I have shared my grief with you. Let me 
share my joy also. 

How like you this kind of style? It is gay, to be sure. But is it 
not flashy? Should a man indulge himself in it? Would it not 
spoil his taste? People may talk of David Hume as they please. 
I maintain his style is far from being good. He fritters it away 
like a French marquis. Read the work of Mr. Johnson. There 
indeed is style; there indeed is the full dignity of an English 

"What is the matter with him now?" you will probably have 
said, Temple, I wish this letter may come to you at a pleasant 
moment. If you receive it at the dreary hour when you have just 
stepped out of Clifton's with the cold depression which hangs upon 
us for an hour after dinner, woe be to it. But if Mrs. Legg or 
Edwards's lad, 2 or peradventure the barber should bring it in at the 

1 Tuesday the 6th was probably the next post day. He planned to write in 
instalments and finish his letter Monday night or Tuesday morning. But 
if the entry in the Register of Letters is correct, he did not actually get the 
letter off until Friday the Qth. 

2 Clifton's Chop-house, Butcher Row, Strand, was the favourite London din- 

82 4 December 1 763 

cheerful hour of noon, when you have just closed your Tully, and, 
filled with noblest sentiment, sit musing in your easy chair, happy 
will be its fate. It will be read with sweet attention and relished 
with lively joy. 

My dear friend! After two months of a life almost solitary, you 
need not wonder that the smiles of the ladies' faces and the 
beautiful figures on their chimney pieces should have very great 
effect upon me. I now find Utrecht to be what Sir David found it. 
Our noblesse are come to town and all is alive. We have card- 
assemblies twice a week, which, I do assure you, are very brilliant, 
and private parties almost every evening. Madame la Comtesse de 
Nassau Beverweerd has taken me under her protection. She is a 
lady that, with all your serenity, would make you fall upon your 
knees and utter love speeches in the style of Lord Shaftesbury's 
Rhapsody, 3 and that would please her exceedingly, for she delights 
in Shaftesbury's benevolent system. I really trembled at the tran- 
sition which I made last week. But I stood firm, and recollected 
so as to hold the reins in my hand. 

I have changed my plan a little. I allow three hours every 
evening for amusement. I am come abroad to see foreign manners 
as well as to study. While I am in the company of foreigners of 
fashion, I am always receiving some improvement, at least in 
language. Madame de Nassau has shown me more civility than 
can well be imagined. I am getting more acquaintances daily. 
When once you are well in the gay world here you may be very 
happy. So it appears to me at present. I hope it will continue to 

ing-place of Boswell and Temple, Mrs. Legg, Temple's laundress in the Inner 
Temple. Boswell described her in the London Journal of 1762-1763 as "an 
old woman who has breakfast set every morning, washes our linen, cleans the 
chambers, wipes our shoes, and, in short, does everything in the world that 
we can require of an old woman." Edwards was a stationer at Temple Gate 
in whose care Boswell sent his letters to Temple. 

3 The Moralists, a Philosophical Rhapsody, 1709, later included (as Treatise 
V) in Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times. It is a dialogue 
between a sceptic and an "enthusiast." 

4 December 1763 83 

appear so. However, I am taking care to be independent of it, for 
my great support is study. 

Your proposal for me to go to Paris this winter would be 
thought terrible by my father. Indeed, without a mine of money 
an Englishman can do nothing at Paris. I have no intention to 
pass much time there at all. I shall see everything that is to be 
seen; but for living there long, I have not enough. Besides, I want 
to take a winter's course of Civil Law, and to acquire habits of 
application to render me fit for being useful in life. Think you 
that I would learn prudence for my conduct in this world at Paris, 
or would D'Alembert and the other infidel Academicians help me 
on in my journey to happiness in the next? 

I revere Mr. Gray. But I will not subscribe to all his tenets. 
I believe there are more good authors in France than in England. 
But I believe we have some authors that would weigh against half 
a dozen of their best. And does the pensive Bard really commend 
Catharine Macaulay's History of England? Will you allow me a 
play of words? Two blacks won't make a white. Neither will two 
Grays. Low enough but true. Believe me, Temple, that an English 
republican is either a weak or a wicked politician. I thank GOD we 
have got a monarchy, limited as much as a true patriot or true 
lover of order could wish. I rejoice to find that the King begins to 
show real firmness. I hope he will make it be remembered that 
The Crown is the head of our Constitution. 

Poor Wilkes! Sad dog as he is, who will not be sorry for him! 
I long to hear his history 

I am glad that Nicholls goes into the Church. It will be 
another inducement to you, and I hope will be an agreeable 
situation for him. I expect to be supported by you two in your 
mitres like King Richard in the play. Keep up your spirits, my 
dear Temple. Be ever busy. Strengthen your mind by study and 
by thought, and pray try to stir up some desire in your breast for 
worldly advantages. That would give you a greater degree of agi- 
tation, which is always pleasant. I am vexed that my paper is so 

84 4 December 1 763 

small. Tell me your opinion of my alteration in living. I am timor- 
ous. I have no friend here to open my mind to with that unlimited 
frankness which you have heard. Adieu. I ever am yours most 




had I here a maid, upon whose lap 

1 might recline my head and take a nap, 
The gentle heavings of her lovely breast 
Might soothe my senses to oblivious rest. 
In the dead hours I journalized last night, 
My eyes all fretted with the candle's light. 
How can a man write either verse or prose, 
Whose drowsy eyelids every minute close? 
Without the least delay to bed I'll creep, 
And warm and quiet take a pull of sleep. 

MONDAY 5 DECEMBER. Yesterday you did surprisingly well 
after your severe late-sitting. But be firm to go to bed always at 
twelve, or before it, and never to eat suppers. 4 You drank tea with 
honest Carron. Then you went to la Comtesse's. You was a little 
awkward, but you cleared up at cards. You was presented to Count 5 
at supper; you was hurt by Albinus, a coarse Dutch wit. You did 
not like to speak. However, you was a little in the tumbling hu- 
mour, and affected to be too much the great man. Never allow one 
minute's affectation. The Comtesse showed a lowness, a Dordt mer- 
cantility 8 in suspecting that you understood Hollands, and re- 
peated. Have a care; never say a word of it. You was disgusted, but 
see how things turn out. Be independent. 

* In England (and also presumably in Holland) in the eighteenth century 
people ate breakfast at ten in the morning, dinner at three or four, and drank 
tea at six. Supper, if served at all, came late in the evening. 

5 Presumably Hendrik Carel, Count of Nassau, Heer van Beverweerd, the 
Countess's husband. As indicated above, he was twice her age. 

6 The Countess had been born in Dordt, or Dordrecht, a wealthy trading city 
of the Netherlands, 

6 December 1763 85 

TUESDAY 6 DECEMBER. . . . Your Sunday evening continued 
to disgust you. You was uneasy and you could not but show it, 
though moderately. You talked to Brown of the rudeness of Al- 
binus. He agreed, but you heard hints of his intrigue. Good heaven! 
What is the world! You was shocked; you hated her. And yet it is 
not true. What a weak mind have you! Fie! Yield not thus. Com- 
mand your passions and be ever in good humour. You went to bed 
very soon. You was not well. You made good resolutions to sleep 
off chagrin, and obstinately learn a proper retenue and conduct. 

WEDNESDAY ^ DECEMBER. Yesterday you did very well. You 
was really retenu, and at Assembly was agreeably surprised to find 
Albinus complaisant, speak much, and tell you, "It's not every 
Englishman yrho is well received," 7 and ask you to dine with him. 
His card first surprised you. You have here another instance: never 
take disgusts at first. Visit him tomorrow. You was quite mistaken 
in being discontent on Sunday; all was well. Return to the charge. 
At ten, send to Comtesse if she chooses to walk, and go to her at 
eleven. . . . 

THURSDAY 8 DECEMBER. Yesterday you walked round 
Utrecht with la Comtesse. How delicious! You spoke charming 
French. Had no servant. She gave the characters of Monsieur 
d'Amelisweerd, a rough squire, but jealous of his lady, a charming 
little woman. You joked her at his not dreading the English as 
gallants. Talked of jealousy. She said she was happy at your being 
recommended to Count Nassau. She could take you everywhere. 
All this looked like address. Also, she gave hints of Madame 
Amelisweerd. Told she was married at seventeen, when one does 
not know the consequences; said marriage was unequal. Said going 
to The Hague, Paris, London was un peu trop fort. Was not this 
confidence in you? You was very prudent. At night Brown told 
you how she had found you out about disgust at Albinus. She is 

7 This sentence is in French in the original. It may be assumed without fur- 
ther notice in all the memoranda that follow that both sides of direct con- 
versations with Hollanders were recorded by Boswell in French, and appear 
in this edition in translation. 

86 8 December 1 763 

very penetrating. But you have her for all that. Be very retenu. 

She gave you no cautions to try you. Have a care. Don't alter. 

FRIDAY 9 DECEMBER. Yesterday you visited Albinus. The 
day was passed so-so. It was indeed devoted to the Society, as it 
was your night. You made a very good discourse; copy it fair and 
send it to Father. Have a care. You are not quite right at present. 
Your health is not perfect. That disorder of the stomach distresses 
you. Be more regular to go to bed. Eat a lighter dinner; drink less 
wine and a good deal of water to give a clear digestion, and never 
miss the Mall once a day. 8 Lay your hand on your heart. Pause. 
Withstand pleasure or you will be dissolved. Attend to Trotz. 
Resolve it, to fill your mind. See how you can acquire that habit. 
Pay la Comtesse? Never give up general Plan. Be retenu. 


Yet Holland gave ay, there's the cruel sting 
Gave to Great Britain, gave, ye gods! a king. 
Ah, name him not; no more our -shame disclose, 
Nor on our coins point out his monstrous nose. 
let the mem'ry of the villain rot; 
Be on his reign an everlasting blot. 
True, in his youth the phlegmatic Mynheer 
Display'd the brutal courage of a bear; 
'Tis true he made the mighty f am'd reply, 
"Rather than yield, in the last ditch 111 die." 

[c. 9-10 DECEMBER. FRENCH THEMES] I have not written 
any themes for three or four days. Have I then been negligent? 

8 "The Mall is esteemed the principal ornament of Utrecht, and is perhaps 
the only avenue of the sort in Europe still fit to be used for the game which 
gives its name to them all. The several rows of noble trees include at the 
side both roads and walks, but the centre is laid out for the game of [pall-] 
mall, and though not often used, is in perfect preservation. It is divided 
so as to admit two parties of players at once, and the side boards sufficiently 
restrain spectators" (Charles Campbell, The Travellers Complete Guide 
through Belgium, Holland, and Germany, 1815, p. 97). The game was played 
with a wooden ball and mallets, like croquet. 

9 What he had lost to her at cards. 

g-i o December 1 763 87 

No, not at all. But I have been busy writing a discourse according 
to the directions of the literary society of which I am a member. 
This discourse is in French. Tell me, then, if I have wasted my 
time. Tell me if a man would not profit as much by writing a 
French dissertation as by writing a French theme. Perhaps there 
are subtle differences between them; for my part, I do not under- 
stand them. I am content to make my judgments on obvious 
appearances. I do not seek to refine. Lord Kames, a man of great 
knowledge and true genius, was nevertheless a little too refined. 
When he published his Elements of Criticism, in which he ex- 
hibited much thought and even original taste but too much sub- 
tlety, Mr. Love the actor said, "My Lord Kames is not content if you 
show him a fine room, perfectly elegant; he wants always to 
scratch behind the panelling and analyze the plaster of the walls." 
He might have added, "And perhaps taste it," for Lord Kames is 
a deep chemist and has conducted some very curious experiments 
in that science. He wished to apply his science of chemistry to 
agriculture. Some malicious rogues would persuade us that he 
has tasted all sorts of dung with a truly philosophic palate, in order 
to acquire a perfect knowledge of the most effective ways of fertil- 
izing the soil. He entertained for some time a pretty fancy that one 
could make an extract of the essence of dung and so save the ex- 
pense of carts, which now cost us so much to carry our dung to the 
fields. Major Dalrymple, brother of my Lord Drummore, says that, 
following the same principles, one could have the essence of wheat, 
so that a man could carry his harvest home in his snuff-box. 

We have completely lost sight of the Earl of Bute, concerning 
whom I began to write with so much formality in these themes. 
Never has one seen more irregular compositions than the present. 
If after two thousand years they are found by some antiquary, he 
will not gain much. I defy him to understand them. They are 
really in cipher, partly because of the badness of the writing, partly 
because of the astonishing variety of matter, so that one page has 
very little connection with another. They are as well hidden as 
an essay of high treason would be in Turkey or a dissertation con- 
taining matter against the Catholic Church in Spain. However, I 

88 9- 1 December 1 763 

do not doubt that they will be highly esteemed by antiquaries. 
The manuscripts which have been found amongst the ruins of 
Herculaneum, concerning which these gentlemen have made so 
much ado, have almost the same obscurity. 

SUNDAY 11 DECEMBER. Yesterday you did very well. You 
read an immensity of Greek. You was retenu yet cheerful at table. 
It was a dismal day and you eat too much wild duck, so was a little 
gloomy. However, you said not a word of it, nor have you said a 

word of it near these three months Take long walk today to 

brace you, and do so every day. Eat less. . . . 

MONDAY 12 DECEMBER. Yesterday you did delightfully. 
You did not commit one fault in any respect the whole day. . . . 
You was retenu at dinner. You admired la Comtesse in church, but 
not imprudently. You supped happy and cheerful. In short, for all 
yesterday you enjoyed tranquillitatem animL There is a fine tale 
to tell. Persist. Relax not propriety, yet torment not yourself with 
trifles to be an old woman ... Go to bed exact at twelve. Pick teeth 
with wood; make toothpicks. At six Madame Maleprade. Be easy 
and gay. Approach not love. . . . 

TUESDAY 13 DECEMBER Consider what a different man 

you are now from what you have been for some years. Instead of 
idle dissipation, you read Greek, French, law; and instead of 
drollery, you have sensible conversation. You also mix gay amuse- 
ment with study Wait on Grand Bailiff to let him know that 

you are to leave the town for some time. 1 Write to Guiffardiere 
short only two pages and a quarter and no nonsense, only a gay 
recital of assemblies. This day continue; don't always be mending 
yourself in trifles like a boy his shuttlecock: he spoils it. Be fine 
at Assembly. No love; you are to marry. But la Comtesse, charming 
and friendly. You are forming charmingly; you are no buffoon, 
you only want calmness. 

WEDNESDAY 14 DECEMBER. Yesterday you did just as well 

as you could wish. Upon my word, you are a fine fellow Bravo! 

Go on 

1 He is planning to spend his Christmas holidays at The Hague. 

14 December 1763 89 

[Received 14 December, Samuel Johnson to Boswell] 2 

London, 8 December 1 763 

. DEAR SIR: You are not to think yourself forgotten or crimi- 
nally neglected that you have had yet no letter from me. I love to 
see my friends, to hear from them, to talk to them, and to talk of 
them; but it is not without a considerable effort of resolution that I 

prevail upon myself to write Whether I shall easily arrive at 

an exact punctuality of correspondence, I cannot tell. I shall at 
present expect that you will receive this in return for two 3 which I 
have had from you. The first, indeed, gave me an account so hope- 
less of the state of your mind that it hardly admitted or deserved an 
answer; by the second I was much better pleased. . . . 

You know a gentleman, who, when first he set his foot in the 
gay world, as he prepared himself to whirl in the vortex of pleas- 
ure, imagined a total indifference and universal negligence to 
be the most agreeable concomitants of youth and the strongest in- 
dication of an airy temper and a quick apprehension. Vacant to 
every object and sensible of every impulse, he thought that all 
appearance of diligence would deduct something from the reputa- 
tion of genius; and hoped that he should appear to attain, amidst 
all the ease of carelessness and all the tumult of diversion, that 
knowledge and those accomplishments which mortals of the com- 
mon fabric obtain only by mute abstraction and solitary drudgery. 
He tried this scheme of life a while, was made weary of it by his 
sense and his virtue; he then wished to return to his studies; and 
finding long habits of idleness and pleasure harder to be cured 
than he expected, still willing to retain his claim to some extraor- 
dinary prerogatives, resolved the common consequences of irreg- 
ularity into an unalterable decree of destiny, and concluded that 
Nature had originally formed him incapable of rational employ- 

2 From The Life of Johnson, where Boswell published the letter in full. The 
original manuscript has not been recovered. 3 Not recovered. 

go 14 December 1763 

Let all such fancies, illusive and destructive, be banished hence- 
forward from your thoughts for ever. Resolve, and keep your reso- 
lution; choose, and pursue your choice. . . . This, my dear Boswell, 
is advice which perhaps has been often given you, and given you 
without effect. But this advice, if you will not take from others, 
you must take from your own reflections . . . 

Let me have a long letter from you as soon as you can. I hope 
you continue your journal ... I am, dear Sir, your most affection- 
ate servant, 


[Received 14 December, Dalrymple to Boswell. 
Original in French] 

Edinburgh, 2 December 1763 

MY VERY DEAR FRIEND, The progress which you have made 
in the French language shows me what can be done by a man of 
brains as soon as he settles down. I assume that your mind is quiet 
at the moment because I see that you are busy with your studies. 
Believe me, I have known people who chattered in French without 
stopping to draw breath, though their knowledge of it was not 
equal to yours. You have committed yourself to the road and must 
now hurry straight on, without being stopped by the obstructions 
that may present themselves. Though I myself am but a barbarian, 
I make bold to praise you for acquiring what I understand with 
difficulty and seldom speak. 

I find you infatuated with Fatality. Since neither Clarke nor 
Johnson has been able to dissipate these clouds which overshadow 
your mind, how could / persuade you that you are a rational being? 
Tell me, however: when you do good, do you not believe yourself 
free? And is it not merely when you wander astray in the paths 
of Folly or when you reflect on your follies is it not then that you 
believe yourself led by the hand of an invisible fatality? 

Don't you remember what was said by Prior, a man of the 
world who could think like a philosopher too: 

14 December 1763 91 

That when weak women went astray, 
Their stars were more in fault than they? 4 

Milton gives these metaphysical problems to his devils to debate: 
they amuse themselves by reasoning on "fixed Fate, free Will, 
Foreknowledge absolute." 5 It is the devil's business to occupy one's 
self with thoughts that have no outcome. Make up your mind that 
GOD is just and that the soul is immortal, that virtue is lovely and 
vice harmful to society. All the other truths will follow from prin- 
ciples so certain and agreeable to well disposed hearts as these. For 
my own part, I find in myself such repugnance to the dogma of 
Fatality that I assure you non persuadebis etiamsi persuaseris 6 that 
I am not free. 

You are reading the Universal History of Voltaire. Keep a 
sharp look-out: he is the most intrepid retailer of fables to appear 
in Europe since the century of Varillas, Leti, and Raguenet. Some 
time I shall amuse myself by writing the life of Cromwell, drawn 
from French authors, without including in it the slightest morsel 
of truth. The truth can sometimes be found in Monsieur de Voltaire, 
but it is found either rouged or daubed or in ridiculous disguise. It 
would be impossible to praise too much his facility and his delight- 
ful turns of phrase, but for the rest I ought to hold my tongue, as the 
old song says, for I have never seen it. 

It may well be that you have found Dutch civility a little dry, 
but remember what I have often told you, that you must accustom 
yourself to the usages established in the countries where you may 
find yourself. The Dutch do not give dinners, they do not put them- 
selves at the trouble of paying visits. Try to meet the Count de 
Nassau on the Promenade or in public places, and you will find 
him a friend without disguise or artifice. May I venture to say that 
he is in some sense the Governor of the City, and that one may 
excuse him from making visits of ceremony. 

4 The quoted lines are in English. Prior wrote "That if" etc. (Hans Carvel). 

5 Milton, Paradise Lost, II. 560. 

A Latin version of Aristophanes's Plutus, 600: ov yap ratcrcis, 0$$' jv 
vdcy s,fr"You shall not convince even if you should convince me." 

g 2 14 December 1763 

Here I am married, as your father has told you. I am happy; 
I go my way in peace; I apply myself to the duties of society, and 
in filling the empty places of my brain with useful studies, I close 
it to metaphysical chimeras. Do thou likewise, my dear friend, and 
be happy; as happy as your very humble and most affectionate 


Please have the goodness to make my most sincere compliments 
to Monsieur le Comte de Nassau. 

THURSDAY 15 DECEMBER You was indeed a great man 

yesterday. You received letters from Lord Auchinleck, 7 Mr. Samuel 
Johnson, Sir David Dalrymple. Mr. Johnson's correspondence is 
the greatest honour you could ever imagine you could attain to. 
Look back only three years when you was first in London with 
Derrick. 8 Consider. He is the first author in England. Let his coun- 
sel give you new vigour. Return still to the charge. . . . 

FRIDAY 16 DECEMBER. Yesterday was a lukewarm sort of a 
day. . . . You forgot temperance, which you seldom forget. You eat 

too much beef and drank too much wine This day write law 

and version, and at eleven Rose, and give a good brush at Greek. At 
one, walk; after dinner, more Greek. At night, Assembly. Then 
journal. Saturday set apart to clear all up. Let journal be completed, 
short. Write to Johnson easy. Prepare all for Hague. Persist. 

[Boswell to De Guiffardiere] 9 

Utrecht, 16 December 1763 

MONSIEUR: By the address of this letter you will see that I 
intended to write in French. By the address I mean the exordium, 

7 Not recovered. 

8 A rather disreputable Irishman, later "King" of Bath, who had been Bos- 
well's first instructor in the ways of the town, or, to use his own words, had 
shown him Londoli "in all its variety of departments, both literary and 

9 Reprinted from The Letters of James Boswell, 2 vols., 1924, with the kind 
permission of the editor, Professor C. B. Tinker, and of the Oxford University 
Press. The original was in the Adam Collection and is now in the collection 
of Mr. and Mrs. Donald F. Hyde. 

1 6 December 1 763 93 

Monsieur. I did indeed fully intend to have written to you in that 
language, of which you know so much and I so little. But I recol- 
lected that my French letters are as yet but mere themes, and that 
I should not be doing you a great kindness to give you the trouble 
to correct them. 

Although I cannot correct the language of your letter, yet I 
think I may take upon me to correct the sentiment of it. Your 
French morality, Guiffardiere, is "lighter than vanity." A generous 
Briton gives it to the wind with a smile of disdain. To be serious, 
your amorous sentences are vivacious. But are they proper from a 
son of the Church? Indeed, Doctor, I am afraid not. Believe me, Sir, 
such sallies are dangerous. They glance upon the mind and dazzle 
the eye of discernment. Morality is permanent, although our sight 
be wavering; happy are they who can keep it constantly in view. 
I have experienced a good deal of variety, and I am firmly con- 
vinced that the true happiness of a MAN is propriety of conduct and 
the hope of divine favour. Excuse me, Guiffardiere. I am domineer- 
ing over you, I allow. But don't you deserve it? When you left this, 
was you not resolved to acquire "intellectual dignity"? I desire that 
you may remember your resolution. You have now a fair oppor- 
tunity to become a real philosopher. If you improve your solitude 
as you ought to do, the rest of your life may be passed in cheerful 
tranquillity. Take this as it is meant, and you will thank me. 

I now find Utrecht to be the same agreeable place which my 
friend Dalrymple found it fifteen years ago. We have brilliant 
assemblies twice a week and private parties almost every evening. 
La Comtesse de Nassau Beverweerd has taken me under her protec- 
tion. She is the finest woman upon earth. She has shown me the 
greatest civility, and has introduced me <upon> the very best 
footing <into the> gay world of this city. I <begin to> make 
acquaintance with the people of fashion, and hope to be agreeable 
to them. There are so many beautiful and amiable ladies in our 
circle that a quire of paper could not contain their praises, though 
written by a man of a much cooler fancy and a much smaller 
handwriting than myself. 

I have stood upon my guard and have repelled dissipation. I 

94 1 6 December 1 763 

am firm to my Plan, and I divide my time between study and 
amusement. "Happy man!" you will say. Our vacation begins this 
day. I shall go to The Hague next week, and expect to pass there 
some weeks of felicity. Do not allow yourself to weary in your pres- 
ent retreat. Acquire fortitude and all will at least be supportable in 
this changeful world. I am, Sir, your sincere well-wisher and hum- 
ble servant, 

Last post I had a long letter from MR. JOHNSON. 

SATURDAY i 7 DECEMBER. . . . You are coming quite into the 
style here. Only you was a little too young with Madame de Nassau 
in giving a kind of jump when you heard she was to be at your two 
next parties. You cultivated acquaintance with Madame 1 de Zuy- 
len. Never be in the least foolish. Harden 

suNDAYiSDECEMBER. Yesterday you did perfectly well. You 
read much Greek and finished The Anabasis, and you had twelve 
pages of version examined, which was excellent. You was quite 
genteel and gay at Assembly, and had much conversation with 
Madame de Nassau and Madame Amelisweerd. La Comtesse told 
you of intrigues at The Hague. She said your calling her Protectrice 
would look strange. She said, by the by, that Terie said you was 
extremement goute. 2 You saw how tilings were. You are a happy 

dog But you talked rather too much. Have a care of being 

etourdi* This day at eleven call on Grand Bailiff. Then have fire 
in stove and great table in next room. Send to Brown you can't dine, 
and bring up journal. . . . 

MONDAY 19 DECEMBER. Yesterday you did charmingly. You 
brought all up clear; only you left your letter to Johnson and your 
journal to furnish you occupation on jaunt and prevent you from 

1 The manuscript has "Mad.", which in these memoranda may mean either 
"Madame" or "Mademoiselle." "Mad. de Zuylen" is in almost all cases Belle 
de Zuylen, but here I think her mother was meant. 

2 "Very much liked." "Terie" (which might also be read "Jerie") was prob- 
ably the nickname of Madame d' Amelisweerd or one of the other ladies. 

3 "Giddy." 

1 9 December 1 763 95 

the fretful gloom of idleness. You may write, or at least sketch, in 

schuit This morning get all ready. Forget nothing. Take papers 

and Butler 4 or Gil Bias to read in schuit. Be firm From first to 

last be temperate. See how well you can go on. Be quite retenu,, 
pious, and careful. Amen. 

FOR HAGUE JAUNT. Your going to The Hague is of more con- 
sequence than you imagine. You are to wait on Mynheer de Som- 
melsdyck, of whom you have heard so much from your infancy, 
and who may be of infinite use to you. Your father considers this as 
a matter of great moment. So do your best. You have now a rational 
system. Formerly you made your general plan yield to the present 
moment. Now you make the present moment yield to the general 
plan, as it soon passes. Think before you enter The Hague. Learn 
the usage of life. Be prudent and retenu. Never aim at being too bril- 
liant. Be rather an amiable, pretty man. Have no affectation. Cure 
vanity. Be quite temperate and have self-command amid all the 
pleasures. Would Epictetus or Johnson be overturned by human 
beings, gay, thoughtless, corrupted? No; they would make the best 
of them and be superior. Have real principles. You have acquired 
a noble character at Utrecht. Maintain it. ... 

TUESDAY 20 DECEMBER [Leyden] Yesterday you did charm- 
ingly. You supported the tedious nine hours in the schuit, and 
though you grew cold and gloomy, you stood firm. You talked 
Dutch with the jolly dog and his two daughters. You arrived at 
Leyden, dreary a little. But you drank coffee, read the English 
news, wrote good verses and a noble letter to Mr. Johnson. 5 Thus it 
is that you are happy. You are formed for regular decent life. You 
have deviated into the- road [of] vice and have been miserable. 
Take care now you are a Christian. Think. Be firm. Admire still la 
Comtesse. But not vicious, for though 'twould inflame your fancy, 
'twould fever your heart and ruin your Plan. See Abraham 

4 Bishop Joseph Butler's famous Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, 
to the Constitution and Course of Nature, 1736. 

5 The original has not been recovered. A rather uninteresting fragment of it 
was printed in The Life of Johnson. 

g6 20 December 1 763 

Gronovius today. Take pen and ink in schuit and copy letter. Be at 

Comedie by six. Be retenu with Gordon. Try it now. Remember 

your Templar oath. 6 It is at such a time as this that gloom appears. 

Then resist it. Go to Marshal Turenne not to be with Gordon, 

who is pert. 7 Allow no sad idea to seize you. Take exercise. Be 


WEDNESDAY 21 DECEMBER. [The Hague] Yesterday you 
waited on honest Abraham Gronovius and passed an hour with 
him, quite Dutch, commentaric, and comfortable, and promised 
to come and dine with him on a Saturday and copy the notes on the 
Graecae Lyrici? You hired the roof 9 and wrote your letter cleverly 

6 Probably an oath which Boswell took just before leaving the Temple in 
London to go -to Holland. 

7 The Marechal Turenne was an inn or hotel at The Hague. Gordon had 
probably invited Boswell to share lodgings with him. 

8 "I wish you would inquire for me whether there is in the library of the 
University at Leyden any manuscript notes or corrections relating to the 
fragments of the Greek lyrics. Your father told me several years ago that he 
had a remembrance of some such things, but he could not give me any par- 
ticulars. I think he also mentioned a manuscript of Anacreon. I want to know 
its age and the first line of each poem in it. The librarian, if he is not a 
notorious blockhead, will be able to inform you of all those particulars. It has 
been long my intention to procure an edition of the fragments of those lyrics, 
not of every single word or of imperfect sentences, but an edition containing 
such pieces as may convey an idea of the style and manner of each author 
and of the measure in which he wrote. This, though a simple plan, has never 
yet been executed" (Sir David Dalrymple to Boswell, 28 July 1763). Bos- 
well's Graecae Lyrici is a slip for Graeci Lyrici or Graeciae Lyrici. 

9 That is, roef, the deck-house of the barge. "In [the roef] there are four 
oblique windows, which move up and down, and a table in the middle with 
a long drawer, filled with pipes. There is also a spitting-box and a little iron 
pot containing burning turf, for accommodating the smokers with a light. 
The seats are covered with handsome cushions. The roef is generally occupied 
by the genteeler passengers, though the price is but about threepence an 
hour. So steady is the motion of the vessel that a person may read, write, or 

even draw in it A person may hire the whole of the roef to himself by 

giving proper notice" (Charles Campbell, The Traveller's Complete Guide 
through Belgium, Holland, and Germany, 1815, p. 17). 

2 1 December 1 763 97 

to Mr. Johnson. 1 You was a little unhinged by the novelty of The 
Hague. However, you did all right: waited first on the Ambas- 
sador, 2 then went to Comedy, where you was pleased. Came home, 
read Tacitus and wrote journal. You felt gloom, but you bore it, 
and are ever resolved to bear it. You was peevish a little to poor 
Frangois. Poor honest, quiet creature, be good to him. Don't con- 
sider him as a servant here, but as a careful body to look after your 
things. Never once use him sullenly. Give general order: never in. 
. . . Starve and keep off spleen. 



Scene, the street 
BOSWELL. Le Jeune. 
VALET/ Sir? What is your pleasure? 
BOSWELL. Show me where Colonel Spaen 5 lives. 
VALET. This way. He lives in the Prinsesse-Gracht. 
BOSWELL. Have you served in the Army? 

*He had already written it (see the previous memorandum), but he now 
copied it carefully, no doubt making some improvements as he copied. 
2 Sir Joseph Yorke. Boswell was presented on 26 December. 
8 These dialogues are recorded entirely in French. 

4 A valet de louage or local servant whom Boswell has hired for the period 
of his stay in The Hague. 

5 Alexander Sweder, Baron von Spaen, of a noble German family, was a 
favourite of Frederick the Great in his youth, and had been involved with two 
other young officers, Lieutenants Katte and Keith, in Frederick's plot to 
escape from his father's control by fleeing from Germany in 1730. The plot 
being discovered, Keith saved himself by flight, but Katte was arrested and, 
by express command of Frederick's father, was beheaded. Spaen, who is said to 
have swallowed the one incriminating paper in his possession, got off with a 
brief imprisonment and exile. Entering the service of the States-General, nt 
rose to the rank of major-general. His wife was a niece of the Count of Nassau. 
Boswell had a letter of introduction to her from the Countess of Nassau 

g8 21 December 1763 

VALET. Not in the last war, Sir. 

BOSWELL. You have certainly been in the Army, because you 
march in line so well. Please to walk either in front of me or 
behind me. 

VALET. Sir, I beg your pardon. But I will tell you the reason. 
It is a custom of us servants de louage to walk in that position, be- 
cause foreign gentlemen have many questions to ask and do not 
wish to put themselves to the trouble of shouting to us. I hope that 
I did not offend you. 

BOSWELL. no. Follow the custom. I merely noticed that you 
had been a soldier. 

Scene, the Marechal Turenne 

FRANQOIS. Sir, here is a card from Colonel Spaen, who has been 
here. He has invited you to dine at his house. He will wait for you 
till three o'clock. 

BOSWELL. Ah! give me my scarlet suit and go directly for the 
hairdresser. Wait a moment. What time is it? 

FRANCOIS. It is a good quarter after two. Sir, you can go as you 
are. It is not a grand dinner. 

BOSWELL. Then I will. Listen: if any one inquires here for me, 
always say that I am not at home, except when I give you orders to 
the contrary. 

Scene, Monsieur Spaen' } s house 

MME SPAEN. Mr. Boswell. I am delighted to see you here. 

BOSWELL. Madame, I received Monsieur Spaen's card very late, 
I did not have time to dress. I took the liberty to profit by your 
civility, as you see. I hope you will excuse me. 

MME SPAEN. Sir, you look very well. I expected you today or to- 
morrow. Have you seen this town? Is it not very pleasant? 

BOSWELL. R is very pretty indeed. But I have not yet seen much 
of it. I have been here only since five o'clock yesterday evening. 

MME SPAEN. Have you been at the playhouse? 

BOSWELL. Yes, Madame. 

MME SPAEN. Were you well amused? 

BOSWELL. Very weU. But as I am not used to hearing French 

21 December 1763 99 

spoken rapidly, I missed a good deal. It appears to me that you have 
excellent actors here. 

COLONEL SPAEN. Sir, I am glad to find you here. I have been at 
the Marechal. 

BOSWELL. Sir, I had the honour of receiving your card. 

COLONEL SPAEN. But, Sir, I have been there just now, to bring 
you in my carriage. 

BOSWELL. Sir, I am deeply grateful. 

COLONEL SPAEN. Well, Sir, will you sit beside my wife? 

BOSWELL. If I may venture to part 6 the ladies. 

MME SPAEN. I am afraid, Sir, that my hoop is in your way. 

BOSWELL. Not at all, Madame, but I fear that I am in the way of 
your hoop. 

MME SPAEN. And how do you find Utrecht? 

BOSWELL. Very pleasant, Madame. Our assemblies began three 
weeks ago. 

COUNTESS DE NASSAU ouwERKERKE. I believe the first assembly 
was at my aunt's house. 

BOSWELL. Yes, Mademoiselle. Your brother was my good friend. 
He taught me all the etiquette. He is always gay. He speaks French 
well. He speaks very fast. 

COUNTESS DE NASSAU OUWERKERKE. Sir, he speaks altogether too 

BOSWELL. Oh, it is a sign that you understand a language well 
when you speak fast. I should be very happy if some one should say 
to me, "You speak French too fast." 

MME SPAEN. Have you been in an argument yet? 7 

[COUNTESS DE NASSAU OUWERKERKE.] 8 He has argued against 
Madame de Nassau Beverweerd that there is more evil in the world 
than good. 

BOSWELL. Yes, I argued for Evil while drinking good Burgundy; 

6 "Partager." The company is sitting down to table, Boswell between Madame 
Spaen and the Countess of Nassau Ouwerkerke. Their skirts are so wide that 
he has to (or pretends that he has to) push his way to the table. 

7 A dig at the fondness of the Countess of Nassau Beverweerd for arguing 
and lectures. See p. 69 n. 9. 8 This speech is not assigned in the manuscript. 

i oo 21 December 1 763 

and I remember that she said to me, "Sir, if you go on like that, I 

think you will become a partisan of Good." 

CAPTAIN REYNST. Really, women are very deceitful. A girl 
adapts herself to all the humours and all the caprices of her lover, 
but when he is her husband, all at once she snaps him up: "You're 
mine!" There, Madame! 

MME SPAEN. As for me, I live in great tranquillity. I try to do 
the honours of the house for Monsieur Spaen, when he is good 
enough to bring in good company. I never play. I never sup abroad. 
Yet I am very fond of having supper at home, and people have the 
goodness to come. That is very flattering. Self-love enters into 
everything. Rousseau is right. 

BOSWELL. Has my carriage come? 
SERVANT. Not yet, Sir. 

CAPTAIN REYNST. Have you ordered a carriage, Sir? 
BOSWELL. Sir, may I have the honour of giving you a lift? 
CAPTAIN REYNST. If you will be so good as to take me. 
COLONEL SPAEN. Mr. Boswell, we have a Society here, a morn- 
ing club made up of people of the highest fashion where one chats 
or plays or makes the acquaintance of everybody. Sir, I will intro- 
duce you there as a foreign member. Sir, I leave you master of the 

BOSWELL. It is necessary, Sir, always to have a carriage? 
CAPTAIN REYNST. Excepting in very good weather. But really 
you must count on a carriage most of the time. 

BOSWELL. How much do they ask here per day for a carriage? 
A ducat? 

CAPTAIN REYNST. I believe it is about a ducat. But Monsieur 
Molin, your host, will give you complete information about all 
those things. He is a worthy man. Have you seen Sir Joseph Yorke? 
BOSWELL. Not yet. I left a card and a letter for him from one of 
his friends in London. Must I go to his house a second time without 
waiting for him to call on me? I have heard Sir Joseph's character, 
that he is 

9 A naval captain, later a lieutenant-admiral. He knew Belle de Zuylen well. 

21 December 1763 101 

CAPTAIN REYNST. He is a little stiff. But go a second time. Do 
not be lacking in your attentions. If he is not at home, ask for his 
secretary and tell him you are English, that you wish to see the 
world, that you have friends here who are ready to introduce you 
everywhere, but that you wish to be presented by the Ambassador 
if it is convenient for him. 

BOSWELL. That will show the Ambassador what footing I am on. 
CAPTAIN REYNST. Yes, Sir. Ambassadors will show you a great 
deal of civility when you don't need it. 


Fashion, of all that mortals ever wear, 
Takes most delight in sporting with the hair. 
Just now the town admires a bushy top, 
And for a head the pattern is a mop. 
Pass and begone! the whimsy strikes the Court, 
Hair to look well can never be too short. 
Like powder'd negroes grown a little pale 
Fine fellows seem, though never yet in jail. 1 
In its full shape the bullet pate appears, 
And, bless us! what a quantity of ears! 



Scene, the ordinary at the Marechal Turenne 

BOSWELL. This a very pretty town. 

i CAPTAIN. You have not been here long? 

BOSWELL. Only one day. 

i CAPTAIN. You have acquaintances here? 

BOSWELL. Yes, Sir. I have the honour to be known to the Baron 
de Spaen. I dined at his house yesterday. 

i CAPTAIN. Sir, you were balloted on at our Society today, and 
you were admitted. So you may go there whenever you please, 
1 Because the heads of convicts were cropped? 

102 22 December 1763 

BOS\VELL. It is my misfortune to speak only a very little French, 
but I have been only three months at Utrecht that is, at a place 
where I have had the opportunity to learn it. 

2 CAPTAIN. Sir, you speak very well. You are quite intelligible. 

BOSWELL. That is something. 

i CAPTAIN. You know Madame de Nassau Beverweerd at 

BOSWELL. Yes. I have the honour to be well received in that 
family. She is most engaging. 

1 CAPTAIN. She is very good looking. 

BOSWELL. Yes. I am learning French in the company of two 
ladies from Switzerland, the wife of our English minister and 
her sister. I dine at their house. I hear a great deal about Switzer- 
land. They are extremely fond of their country and their country- 

2 CAPTAIN. That gentleman there is from Switzerland; he is an 
officer in the Swiss Guards. 

BOSWELL. Sir, you are Swiss? 

3 CAPTAIN. Yes, Sir, from the Pays de Vaud, 2 from Lausanne. 

2 CAPTAIN. I should be extremely fond of your country of 
Switzerland. You are very high up, you don't run much risk among 
your mountains; I mean, you can of course fall from your cliffs 
and break your neck, but that is something you can avoid. But here 
we are always in danger from the sea, and we cannot have certain 

BOSWELL. Yes, perhaps one day you will have to swim. 

2 CAPTAIN. Yes, we shall have a Deluge. I shall be like Deu- 
calion. I shall throw stones to renew our nation. 8 

BOSWELL. But, unfortunately, Sir, you have no stones in this 

2 Boswell, who had a good ear but did not yet know much about Swiss geogra- 
phy, got this down as "pals de veaux de Lusanne": "the calf-country of 

3 In the Greek version of the Deluge, only Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha 
survived. They created a new race by casting stones behind them. Those 
thrown by Deucalion produced males, those thrown by Pyrrha, females. 

22 December 1763 103 

country. Nature has undoubtedly passed a fixed decree that Hol- 
land shall be completely lost, for it has not given you the means 
of renewing yourselves. 

Scene, the house of the Countess of Degenfeld* 

BOSWELL. I am unlucky in not being able to speak. I know very 
little French. 

COUNTESS DEGENFELD. You know enough, I should say, to get 
by with. 

BOSWELL. Not bad for three months. 

REYNST. You have a very good accent. 

COUNTESS DEGENFELD. It is not the time now to see The Hague 
at its best. For that one must be here in the summer. But you see the 
people of fashion now. 

BOSWELL. Yes, Madame. 

FRIDAY 23 DECEMBER Good dinner at ordinary. Countess 

Degenfeld, sweet, handsome, amiable. Comedy, well entertained. 
Good dance. Home. Sat up too late. You stood it, but it hurts 
stomach. Do it seldom; rather do less an hour than ruin constitu- 
tion. [Go to bed] exact at twelve. This day at eleven, Club; dine 
here and let chance next declare. Be pious, prudent, retenu, firm. 
"Separated sooner than subdued." 5 


Sure, by all rules of reasoning, tonight 

I must with more than usual fancy write; 

For I sit down to write in spirits gay; 

To my charm'd ears how sweetly sounds "La Haye"! 

On the firm base of rational content 

* Another Countess of Nassau, niece of the Grand Bailiff of Utrecht; she later 
accompanied her husband to Vienna, where he was sent as Ambassador, and 
died there. In 1763 she was between thirty-five and forty. A very grand lady. 
Her character is freely discussed by Constant d'Hermenches and Belle de 
Zuylen: D'Hermenches thought her empty and affected, Belle saw better 
qualities in her. 5 See p. 18. 

104 2 3 December 1763 

For three good months in useful study spent, 
For having acted on Religion's plan, 
And done the serious duties as a man 
Is my fair castle built of solid joy, 
Which vice and pleasure dare not to destroy. 

SATURDAY 24 DECEMBER. Yesterday was a great day.... 
Reynst . . . carried you to Parade, where you saw the Dutch 
Guards, and was animated a little with old ideas. But considered 
how superior you was now with civil views than when a dependant 
for a commission. You felt yourself above Prince and all, and 
wondered how you had been so foolish. Write this to Father. You 
was then presented to Monsieur Sommelsdyck: amiable, soft, 
genteel. . . . 


Scene, the Parade 

REYNST. It's a fine regiment, isn't it? 

BOSWELL. It truly is. Well, after all, it must be confessed that 
there is something in a corps of gallant soldiers that strikes us like 
nothing else. I have the soul of a soldier, but your Highness, I 
am charmed to have the honour. 

PRINCE OF HESSE. Where are you lodged? 

BOSWELL. At the Marechal Turenne. And where are your High- 
ness's quarters? 

PRINCE. Oh, I am on duty here, 6 but I shall have the honour to 
pay you a visit. 

BOSWELL. Sir, the gentlemen in the Service like to change. 7 

REYNST. Well! Monsieur de Sommelsdyck, Mr. Boswell, a Scots- 
man, a relation of yours. 

SOMMELSDYCK. Sir, I am charmed. 
8 "0, je suis de la parade." 

1 "Changer." I suppose it means either, "like to get away from their military 
quarters," or, "like to have a change of duty." 

24 December 1763 105 

BOSWELL. Sir, I should have had the honour to pay you my re- 
spects before this. But I was waiting to be presented by Monsieur 
Chais, who was good enough to promise to perform that courtesy 
for me. 

SOMMELSDYCK. Your father is living and in good health? 

BOSWELL. Yes, Sir. He has the greatest respect for your family. 
He received many civilities from the Admiral, your father, thirty 
years ago when he my father, that is was studying at Leyden. 

SOMMELSDYCK. You are at Leyden? 

BOSWELL. No, Sir. I am at Utrecht. I really had the keenest de- 
sire to have come first to The Hague to pay my respects to my rela- 
tions, but the fact is that we English are very negligent; and to tell 
you the truth, I could not speak French and I did not wish to pre- 
sent myself as a dumb cousin. 8 But after having been three months 
at Utrecht and worked hard, I have got enough to get by with after 
a fashion. 

SOMMELSDYCK. Sir, I shall have the honour to present you to my 
wife. Will you dine with us today? 

BOSWELL. Sir, I am engaged. 

SOMMELSDYCK. Tomorrow, if you please? 

BOSWELL. I shall have the honour. 

Scene, Mr. Maclaine' s* house 

MACLAINE. Gentlemen, you will have but a poor dinner. 
BOSWELL. What should one reply to that? 
CHAIS. "It can't be helped," I suppose. 

BOSWELL. Well, it is beginning well, all the same. This soup is 

8 "Cousin Muet." Perhaps an allusion to a play currently being performed at 
The Hague. A young man who is presented by some girl as a "dumb cousin" 
but who is actually her lover was a stock figure in French comedy. 

9 Archibald Maclaine, north-Irishman, co-pastor of the (Presbyterian) 
English church at The Hague. He was very learned and for a time served as 
preceptor to the Prince of Orange. James Maclaine, the famous "gentleman 
highwayman" hanged at Tyburn in 1750, was his brother. 

io6 24 December 1763 

MACLAINE. Mr. Boswell, there is vin rouge, Rhenish, and Bur- 
gundy: ask for which you prefer. 

BOSWELL. Do you know that Mademoiselle de Zuylen is in 
town? She is our bel esprit at Utrecht. 

MACLAINE. I have met her only once. I'm afraid a young lady 
like that is not a natural character. 

REEDE. 1 Oh, your fear is most unjust. 

MACLAINE. What's that you say, Baron? 

REEDE. I was saying that Mademoiselle de Zuylen is very lik- 
able. She writes verses, but she is not ill natured. She jests . . , 2 

SUNDAY 25 DECEMBER. This is Christmas day. Be in due 
frame. Only hear prayers at Chapel, but don't take sacrament ex- 
cept you can see Chaplain before. 3 Yesterday . . . you . . . went a 
moment to Society, then to Monsieur Sommelsdyck's, where you 
dined and passed all the afternoon and evening, quite en famille, 
no brilliancy but all friendship. The family tree. Write for him 
name and titles and small tree of your family. . . . 

MONDAY 26 DECEMBER. Yesterday you waited on Mr. 
Richardson, Chaplain to Sir Joseph Yorke; found him affable and 
decent. Took you up to his room, told you, "Our Church leaves it to 
every man." Presented to Ambassador. . . . Took with him. Then 
Chapel. "Grace and truth": 4 fine sermon. Then received the 

1 A brother of Frederick Christian Reinhart van Reede, fifth Earl of Athlone, 
a Hollander bearing an Irish peerage title conferred on his ancestor by Wil- 
liam III. "Young Reede," as Boswell afterwards calls him, was a close friend 
of Belle de Zuylen. 

2 The dialogues break off here at the bottom of a full page, with a catchword 
for a succeeding page. But it is not at all certain that anything is lost. See p. 


3 Boswell, who had never previously made his communion in the Church of 
England, presumably wished to know whether he was expected to make con- 
fession and abjuration of heresy as he had done when received into the Roman 
Catholic communion. See p. i. 

4 The concluding words of the gospel for Christmas: "And the Word was 
made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the 
only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John i. 14). 

26 December 1763 107 

blessed sacrament solemnly professing myself a Christian; was in 
devout, heavenly frame, quite happy. The first time that I re- 
ceived the communion in the Church of England. . . . This day, in 
all forenoon and bring up journal and letter to Father ... Be firm 
and consider you're quite independent of Father, &c. 

TUESDAY 27 DECEMBER You dined splendid at Wil- 

hem's. That is all. You was quite easy. You went home and wrote 
two hours. You returned and supped. She 5 talked of Madame de 
Beverweerd: the length of her neck and the inequality of her eyes, 
her fausses couches 6 and her thinking herself handsome. But you 
was prudent. When you return to Utrecht, be just as you was with 
her, only more guarded, since you have taken the sacrament. . . . 

WEDNESDAY 28 DECEMBER.... Went to Maclaine's and 
talked with him on religion and morals, particularly women. He 
maintained you must sacrifice something for virtue. He answered 
all quibbles. In France and Italy, 'tis encouraging vice, contribut- 
ing your quota; for every single individual will make the same ex- 
cuse. You cannot make a woman an equivalent for loss of character, 
as you must consider the world's opinion. If she agree, it is taking 
500 from a child. . . . 

[Received 28 December, Stewart to Boswell] 7 

Rotterdam, 27 December 1763 

MY DEAR SIR: I am this moment favoured with yours of the 
26th current, in consequence of which I send you here annexed a 
pair of my finest laced ruffles. They are by no means Brussels, yet 
they are so far from being plain that I protest they cost me fifteen 
ducats. I recently got rid of four pair of my handsomest ruffles, 
otherwise I would have sent you genuine point tfAlengon. I am 

5 Madame de Wilhem. She was first cousin to Belle de Zuylen. 

6 Miscarriages. 

7 The original starts in English, drops into French, and then reverts to 

1 o8 28 December 1 763 

delighted to see that you are having the reception that your merits 
deserve. I am really happy to see that you are so* and shall be very 
glad to see you here, being, in haste, yours affectionately, 


If the parcel should not have come to hand, please to cause 
inquiry be made at the market-boat. 

[Received 28 December, Lord Auchinleck to Boswell] 

[Auchinleck, December 1763] 

MY DEAR SON, I wrote to you last week a letter in your own 
form and answering to Juvenal's description: plena iam margine et 
nondum finita* When one begins to write to a friend, they think 
they have little or nothing to say. But as they write, they warm, 
and fresh matter presents itself. At present I write this only to let 
you know what I suppose would occur to yourself: that it is quite 
necessary when you go to The Hague that you wait of 1 Sir Joseph 
Yorke, the British Ambassador there. When I had occasion to be 
with my Lord Privy Seal (Stuart Mackenzie, Esq.) the time of 
my being at the last Glasgow Circuit, he said that many of our 
countrymen neglected to get recommendations to the King's Min- 
ister at the places where they went; which, he said (and no man has 
travelled more nor knows the world better), was a great loss to 
them, for that a man who was not known to the Ambassador was 
looked upon as being a low man in his own country. In order there- 
fore to your being introduced to Sir Joseph, I have got application 
to be made by means of my Lord President 2 to Mr. Yorke, late 
Attorney General, for a letter to introduce you to his brother Sir 
Joseph, and I expect it will be sent you under cover to Utrecht. In 

8 That is, are happy. 

9 "Full even to the margins and even then not finished" (Satires, i. 5-6) . This 
letter, which Boswell received on 14 December, has not been recovered. 

1 A Scotticism. 

2 Robert Dundas, the presiding judge of the Court of Session, of which Lord 
Auchinleck was a member. 

28 December 1763 109 

case you be left that place before it comes, you'll leave orders for 
any letters that come to you to be sent after you. If again by any 
accident you should be disappointed of that letter, you'll get some- 
body of respect in The Hague to introduce you. . . . 

Be sure to make my best compliments to Mynheer van Som- 
melsdyck. I remember him very well, but he won't remember me, 
for it is thirty-four years since I saw him, when I went to take leave 
of his worthy father and mother, and he was then but about five 
years of age. I doubt if his sisters will remember anything of me, 
though I remember them well. Make also my compliments to 

In my last I said in general that we are pretty well supplied 
with the classics, and now they are put up in the library room, they 
make a good show. However, if you fall upon any of the very old 
editions before the 15OO, 3 and get them cheap, it is worth while to 
take them; for as they were printed directly from the manuscripts, 
frequently discoveries may be made from them. There is one book 
in your own way that I think you should buy and read over with 
care. It is entitled Causes celebres et interessantes, in twenty-six or 
twenty-seven octavo volumes. It contains the proceedings of the 
Parliament of Paris in a number of curious cases which came be- 
fore it; vastly instructive as well as entertaining, fit for every 
gentleman who aims at making a figure in public life; and as that 
is your aim, it is proper you direct your studies to things that 
conduct to it. 

As for abstruse points in law, philosophy, or divinity, it is in 
vain for a man to break his brains upon them. The point is to be in 
condition to do our duty and to do it with diligence. We cannot 
know everything, so let us attach ourselves to the most useful 

I applaud you for not condemning the Dutch language; our 
countrymen commonly do. One good reason for it is that they don't 
understand it. It is not a polite language, 'tis true, except in the 
mouth of a handsome woman. I must make this exception, for I 

8 A Scotticism. 

110 28 December 1 763 

remember well when I have heard a pretty lady saying "0 
hemel!"* I thought it musical. But one thing we must own, that 
the English is a good deal borrowed from it or, which is the same, 
from its mother, the High Dutch. If you want to know a little of it 
speedily so as to divert yourself with Jacob Cats when you come 
home, you had best take a master to teach you the reading of it. 5 
I did this for a month with success. 

My compliments to Mr. Brown, of whom I hear a mighty good 
character. His wife's father is my Lady Coalston's brother; but, 
poor man, he was unhappy, having a wife in this country still 
alive, to whom he was married before he married Mrs. Brown's 
mother. I mention this to you in confidence; don't speak of it. Mrs. 
Brown may be a good woman notwithstanding this macula na- 
taliwrn? so it should not be published. All here remember you with 
affection. Sir David Dalrymple and his lady are to dine here next 
week. 7 

THURSDAY 29 DECEMBER. Yesterday you sat in all day writ- 
ing You was dull, but you did not yield. You grew better at 

Sporck's. 8 Madame Maasdam 9 told you how la Comtesse was taken 
to Utrecht, as there were strange suspicions. "She is a little galante, 
but do not whisper it." I said, "She is my mistress in French." 
. . . Pray be retenu and stand out. This day at ten, Maclaine, House 
in Wood. 1 ... Be cheerful but on guard. Let exercise drive off 
spleen; call up every principle. . . . Write lines soon. Have a care 
or you'll alter. Have a care. 
* U heavens!" 

5 One of the proud possessions of the Auchinleck library was a large Dutch 
folio book of emblems by Jacob Cats (1577-1660) which had belonged to 
Veronica van Sommelsdyck, Lady Kincardine. 6 Stain on her birth. 

7 There is no signature, but nothing has been lost. 

8 Rudolph Ulrich, Baron Sporck or von Sporken, envoy extraordinary to The 
Hague from Hanover. 

9 Monsieur de Sommelsdyck's sister. Her husband was a general of cavalry. 

1 The Huis ten Bosch, a royal villa erected in 1647 for the widow of Prince 
Frederick Henry of Orange, grandfather of William III; one of the show- 
places of The Hague. 

3O December 1 763 111 

FRIDAY 30 DECEMBER. Yesterday at ten, you went with Mac- 
laine and saw House in the Wood: fine paintings. Senses not de- 
ceive, but reason wrong on their reports. 2 . . . Then dine Spaen; by 
Madame Degenfeld; grow fine; say you'll break appointment. 
Then all afternoon. Spaen favourite of Prince; privy to English 
jaunt; taken up, bread and water. Katte beheaded. Comes to Hol- 
land, gets troop, as they would serve King's friend; returns, asks 
rank would have had if not served King. Offered majority, not see 
for thirty years till last year at Cleves; all retenue for some time. 
King sorry, squeezes hand: "Any commands at Berlin?" "Nothing, 
only that I've the same heart now as thirty years ago." 3 Then 
Yorke's . . . Not dance, wrong. Gordon picks at your coat; don't 
answer him. "You're the strangest boy I ever saw." Twas little to 
be thus moved. . . . 


Last night at eight o'clock to Yorke's I went, 
And seven long hours in dissipation spent, 

2 "The dining-room is embellished with grisailles by De Wit (1749) of 
Meleager, Atalanta, Venus, Adonis, and Genii, painted in imitation of bas- 
reliefs and producing an almost perfect illusion" (Baedeker) . 

3 This section of the memoranda, though not the easiest of reading, is pre- 
sented to show the way in which Boswell has begun to convert his memo- 
randa into rough notes for his journal. See pp. 49, 50. The latter part presum- 
ably means, "He came to Holland and was offered the command of a troop 
of cavalry (a captaincy), the Dutch saying that they wished to serve a man 
who was the friend of a king. He thought it over, went back and asked them to 
give him the rank he would have had if he had not served the King of Prussia. 
He was then offered a majority, accepted it, and did not see Frederick for 
thirty years. Frederick visited Spaen last year at Cleves, where Spaen's estate 
is: the King was for some time reserved, but finally showed that he was 
sorry for his coldness to so close a friend of his youth," etc. According to 
Dr. Eduard Vehse (Illustrierte Geschichte des preussischen Hofes . . . bis 
zum Tode Kaiser Wilhelms 7), Frederick was very gracious and familiar, 
reminded Spaen of many episodes of their youth, but never mentioned their 
conspiracy. Spaen afterwards used to remark, "The King has a splendid 
memory down to the year 1730." 

112 3 December 1763 

Where all was valued merely by the eye, 
And glitt'ring blockheads made a sage stand by. 
As I have been but little time abed, 
Weak are my limbs and dizzy is my head; 
My jaded muse, all drowsy and all faint, 
Like Dr. Young's must utter her Complaint; 
And must the bane of manly virtue call 
What foolish mortals idly name a ball. 

SUNDAY i JANUARY. Yesterday you was very splenetic 

Dined ordinary. Then idle. Billiards by self. Then home, coffee, 
&c., and grew well. Madame de Wilhem's, easy and happy. Came 
home well You have stood this. Be firm. 

[Received c. i January, Stewart to Boswell]* 

Rotterdam, 30 December 1763 

MY DEAR FRIEND, I am truly delighted to see by your es- 
teemed letter that you have at last taken notice of what every one 
who has the honour to know you saw from the beginning: namely, 
that you are full of wit and good humour, besides being remark- 
ably handsome. 

I think I hear the fine ladies of The Hague saying to one an- 
other as they see you pass, "There's a proper young man, one can 
see that straight away from his face; he is very good-looking, eh! 
don't you think so, my dear?" "Yes, most assuredly, and he is cer- 
tainly English, for he is too well set-up for a Dutchman." "Oh! it is 
evidently that young English lord recently come from Utrecht who 
Mademoiselle Boetzelaer told us was full of wit, very gay and 
extremely likable: he has also a great deal of fine manners without 
the least affectation. His name is Bossel or Bosvel; they say he is 
very rich " 

I can assure you that your French is very good. It is true that 
there are some small mistakes here and there, and without putting 
yourself to much trouble you will find many more in the letter 

* The first three paragraphs of the original are written in French. 

H4 i January 764 

before you, for I have really forgotten my French, it has been so 

long since 5 

As it is possible I may be obliged to go in a day or two to Amster- 
dam, I beg you will send me my sword, if you can spare it, and 

you'll oblige yours affectionately, 


Though I am very scarce of paper, I must see to make you laugh. 
I happened to be reading one of your letters to Sally, and when I 
came to that passage wherein you say "that candour and openness 
which constitutes my character," Sally says, "Faith, I think he only 
wants a razor now." "Why that?" replied I. "Because," returned 
she, "he has already soaped his own beard." 6 

MONDAY 2 JANUARY. Yesterday you heard Maclaine preach 
on being strangers on earth. You was very gloomy. Then you went 
to Society; played at billiards with Prince of Strelitz. Then at loo 
with him. Gordon still snappish. Said to him, "What's the matter 
with you?" It had effect. Dined Maasdam, still gloomy; tea Hous- 
ton's, quite Scotch. Was galled, but said not a word. 7 . . . You are 
now a little jaded with all this idle, unnatural, sickly dissipation. 
Be firm on guard these three days, so as to depart sound. Never be 
moved with trifles. Be manly and silent. 

5 Stewart forgot on turning the leaf to finish his sentence. 

6 After his return from London in 1760, Boswell had founded at Edinburgh 
a jovial society known as the Soaping Club. In the jargon of this society "to 
soap a person's beard" meant to puff his vanity by flattery; to "shave" him 
or "to apply the razor," to deflate him with cutting wit. "Sally" is the wife of 
Stewart's clerk Mollison; she had formerly been the maid and perhaps more. 
In his memorandum for 12 January 1764 Boswell, then at Rotterdam and in 
a bad temper, refers to "the clerk and his wife, erst maid and w re." 

7 One illustration out of many that could be chosen from these memoranda 
of the invariable effect of Scots familiarity and sarcasm on Boswell. Colonel 
John Houston was an officer in the "Scots Dutch," that is, in the brigade of 
Scots nationals in the Dutch service. "Gordon" is the Honourable Charles 
Gordon (see p. 16), who, like Boswell, had come to The Hague for the vaca- 
tion. Boswell had previously called him "pert," and "snappish and envious," 
and had drawn from him the remark, "You're the strangest boy I ever saw" 
(above, p. 111). 

2 January 1764 115 

[Boswell to Stewart] 8 

S'Haag's, 2 January 1 764 

MYN HEER EN VRIND, Ik heb niet mar en cleyn Beytie Hol- 
lans, en Ik heb niet een Dictionarie myn te helpen; mar Ik heb een 
groot lust in dat taal te schryven, en Ik sal het probeeren. Mynheer 
can lauchen, als hy beleeft: Waarom niet? Ik lauch ook. Te lauchen 
is heel goed voor de Gezontheid. Ik ben seer verplight te mynheer 
voor zyn degen; en als it niet necessaar is tway degcnen te hebben 
Ik zend it met groot plaisir. Sarah heel vroolic is te zegen dat ik 
moet een scheirmess hebben, om dat ik heb myn baard gezeepen. 
Mar mynheer it is wonderlyk dat Sarah noch niet van ue huys ver- 
trecken is; heb mynheer niet een andere vryster engageerd, Sail 
mynheer van Lainshaw een Jong kneght van Schotland niet gezen- 
den? En zoo Mynheer naar Amsterdam te gaan is. Maar hy moet 
seeker bin gow rug te komen, voor it sail speyt me seer, him niet te 
vinden in fyve daagen t' Rotterdam. Mynheer moet myn een brief 
schryven, maar in Hollans niet. Ik bin, Mynheer &c., 


8 This "Dutch" letter, which Boswell dashed off at top speed, is printed in the 
text exactly as he wrote it, for his writing in Dutch is the whole point of the 
jest. Readers who know a little German will be able to decipher most of it 
without a dictionary. For those who dislike puzzles, a literal version follows: 
"My [dear] Sir and friend: I have but a small bit of Dutch, and I have 
not a dictionary to help me; but I have a great desire to write in that tongue, 
and I shall try it. Mynheer can laugh if he pleases. Why not? I laugh too. 
To laugh is very good for the health. I am very much obliged to Mynheer 
for his sword; and as it is not necessary to have two swords, I send it with 
great pleasure. Sarah is very merry to say that I must have a razor, because I 
have soaped my beard. But, Mynheer, it is strange that Sarah has not yet left 
your house. If Mynheer has not engaged another girl, shall the Laird of 
Lainshaw not send a young lad from Scotland? And so Mynheer has gone to 
Amsterdam. But he must be sure to come back quickly, for it will grieve me 
sore not to find him in five days at Rotterdam. Mynheer must write me a 
letter, but not in Dutch. I am, Sir, &c., JACOBUS VAN AUCHINLECK." The "Laird 
of Lainshaw" (in Ayrshire) was BoswelFs first cousin, brother of his future 

n6 5 January 1764 

[Received 5 January, Stewart to Boswell] 

[Rotterdam, c. 4 January 1 764] 

YOUR LAST LETTER, my dear Boswell, cost me more than all the 
other letters you ever wrote me, as I was obliged to employ a 
Tovenaar or Sorcier, what the Scotch commonly call second- 
sighted people, to explain it to me, and he assured me it took him all 
his skill to decipher it. I need not tell you how extravagant these 
sort of people are when they know you can't do without them, 
which was really the present case. I shall be glad to see you five 
days hence, I mean from the date of your last Mystery. Yours, &c., 


FRIDAY 6 JANUARY. Yesterday you went with Yorke and was 
presented to Prince of Orange. 9 You was melancholy to a degree. 
You heard Gordon talk all his system of folly on Plan, &c., and you 
told him he was ill-tempered. You dined Sommelsdyck's and was 
happy enough to be very cordial, and parted from him in great 
friendship, happy to have fait connaissance, &c. You said not a 
word of your gloom, and stood firm. This day dress immediately in 
brown. Pay visits to Spaen, Maasdam, De Wilhem, Yorke. Give 

orders if Gordon sends to say not at home Pay bills calmly and 

leave Hague with full satisfaction, having acquitted yourself as a 


SATURDAY j JANUARY Came drowsy in schuit to Ley- 
den; eat light supper, was well and easy. Keep so. This day Abra- 
ham Gronovius; copy notes for Sir David; dine and be temperate 
and cheerful. You must take care of your stomach; eat always some 
toast and drink a little negus at night, so as not to clog stomach at 
one meal. Tonight or tomorrow, Stewart, fine and happy, but 

Holland was at this time headed by a "Stadtholder," the office being hered- 
itary in the House of Orange. But William V, the Prince of Orange to whom 
Boswell was introduced, was still a boy of fifteen. He had first been under the 
regency of his mother, the Princess Royal of England, daughter of George II, 
and now had for tutor the Marshal Duke of Brunswick- Wolfenbiittel, 

8 January 1 764 117 

SUNDAY 8 JANUARY. Yesterday you passed the morning with 
Mynheer Gronovius first, then Prince Strelitz. Could not dine, but 
saw him quite young student. Then walked with Abrahamus. Then 
dinner, daughter and juffrouw. 1 Quite full remembrance of Father. 
Then looked at his rooms with pleasing concern. Then Gordon, 

walk with him. Then evening at Prince's Loo; gained; was 

happy and temperate; and home in good spirits, and reflected with 

joy on four months well spent 

MONDAY 9 JANUARY. Yesterday you breakfasted Gordon, 
quite fine, with ideas of Duke of Gordon, Lord Aberdeen, &c. Saw 
his books; read Spleen and Dodsley's Collection, and recalled fresh 
and warm ideas of London poetry. 2 Gordon was vastly pliant and 

fond of you Walked, then took leave by a short shake of the 

hand of Abraham Gronovius; then surveyed Leyden as Father's old 
town. You have really an affection for Holland. Played at night 
and lost, just expense on travels. You see world. . . . 

TUESDAY 10 JANUARY. Yesterday you left Leyden early in 
the morning, dark and solemn, and kept up spirits well in schuit, 
though rainy. Arrived at Rotterdam at half after one; hearty recep- 
tion by Stewart. Glad to see the house again where you endured so 

much Don't go out, but sit in all evening at brag. T\vas wrong. 

This day breakfast, then dress, then journal, then walk, then dine, 
then journal and bring up. You have great materials. If you don't 
hear from Brown today, set out tomorrow 

[Received 10 January, the Reverend Robert Brown to Boswell] 

Utrecht, 8 January 1 764 

DEAR SIR: By the inclosed, which I thought I could not do 
better than send you both for information and amusement, you 

1 Probably not Madame Gronovius, who, being a professor's wife, would have 
been designated by the more polite Mevrouw, but some young woman at- 
tendant on the daughter. 

2 The Spleen was a popular eighteenth-century poem by Matthew Green. 
Dodsley's Collection, perhaps the most famous of English anthologies,, was 
first published in 1748. See BoswelVs London Journal, 17^2-1 7^3, 1950, 105. 

10 January 1764 
will see that I have executed your commission, and that you have 
all the time you desire. Whatever day you come, I beg you'll do us 
the pleasure of eating a bit of supper at our house, to make up for 
the bad (or rather no) dinner you shall have had upon the road. 
All here desire their best compliments to you, and offer you many 
sincere New- Year wishes. As you do, so shall I refer all news till 
meeting; and so, having had a very hard day's work of it, consisting 
of two sermons and the administration of the sacrament in English 
and Latin, I shall take my leave, with assuring you that nobody can 
be with more esteem and real regard your friend and servant than 


P.S. The dies Martis is Tuesday sennight. I beg my compli- 
ments to Mr. Stewart. 

[Received 10 January, Professor Christian Heinrich Trotz 
to Brown] 3 

[Utrecht, c. 7 January 1 764] 

S. PL. D. C. H. TROTZ. 

Terminus collcgiorum cst dies Maitis post scptimanam sequen- 
tcm. Habebit itaque amicus nostcr satis adhuc spatii, quo res suas 
disponere valeat. Rcliqua inter dulcia colloquia, cum redierit ami- 
cus noster communis, tractcmus. Cctcrum fclix sit iter, felix etiam 
anni exordium, felicior progrcssus, et scquentium felicissimus 
exitus Vale favcquc tuo. 

* The original of this letter is printed in the text, in order to remind the 
reader that in the eighteenth century professors in Continental universities 
still lectured in Latin and even used Latin naturally for epistolary corre- 
spondence. The letter may be translated, "C. II. Trotz sends his compliments 
[S.P.D. = salutcm plurimam (licit] to the Revciend Mr. Brown. The term 
begins a week from next Tuesday. Consequently our friend will have plenty 
of time yet to put his affairs in order. The other points you raise we will dis- 
cuss in friendly conversation when our common fiiend has returned. I add 
the wish that his journey may be happy, the New Year also happy, happier 
its progress, and most happy the issue of the years to come. Adieu; think 
kindly of your [humble servant.]" 

12 January 1764 119 

THURSDAY 1 2 JANUARY. Yesterday you deviated sadly. You 
passed the forenoon with Stewart writing a little and talking with- 
out force or spirit. You did well at dinner in speaking Dutch. In the 
evening you resolved to bring up journal; and instead of that you 
sat seven hours at cards with the clerk and his wife, erst maid and 

w re. 4 For shame, this was very bad You have not been 

on guard here as at Hague Make a firm resolution, a promise, 

never to play but when necessary, as 'tis low and unworthy. . . . 

MONDAY 1 6 JANUARY. Yesterday you recovered. You went to 
Church of England in the morning. Then you wrote, then walked. 
You was gloomy. But you kept your post and did not own it even to 
Stewart, who knew it all so well formerly. So you see that silence is 
your great refuge. You dined too hearty. Restrain stomach, and by 
custom you'll have easy temperance. . . . This morning, up at six. 
Pay washing. Letters. George, Betty, Sally. 5 Barber. ... Set out at 
eight, full of spirits as after trial . . . 

TUESDAY 17 JANUARY. Yesterday you took leave of Stewart 
and had good drive to Ter-Gouw; there, was a little peevish, but 

checked it. Then schuit to Bodegraven Arrived happy and 

comfortable; felt affection for Dame, 6 &c.; supped Brown, all 
happy. Gaiety universal; heard that you was well amongst the 
people here; heart better than head; quite happy. This day resume 
with courage; dress immediately and pay visits. First, to la Com- 
tesse. Then Trotz; 7 then visits; then dine; then walk; then Greek. 
Begin first day so as show true great man, and go to Assembly in 
satisfaction and composure. Be extremely retenu. 

WEDNESDAY 18 JANUARY. Yesterday Mademoiselle de Zuy- 
len. Yesterday you paid visits and read some Voltaire in forenoon. 
You received long letter from your worthy friend Johnston. Get 
large sheet of good paper and answer it immediately. Mem. Arthur 
Seat, Thorn's, Macbeth, all your old ideas. Now being firm and 

4 Mr. Mollison and Sally. 5 "Give tips to the servants." 

6 Probably his landlady. 

7 Shortly after writing this memorandum, he received another Latin note 
from Trotz saying that the "college" was deferred to the nineteenth. 

120 i8 January 1764 

retenu, try to help Johnston and give him abstract of history since 

coming abroad 

THURSDAY iQ JANUARY Then Monsieur Trotz, and 

shake hands with condiscipuli* and return quite in train. This day 
shake off sloth and resume studies 

FRIDAY 20 JANUARY. Yesterday you began Trotz. After din- 
ner Brown and you, &c., went and heard Hahn on nitre. 9 You said 
fatalists should be hanged and sceptics whipped. Greek went on. In 
the morning you visited Brouwer 1 and saw Icelandic. You talked on 
scheme of Scots dictionary. 2 Pursue it while here. Brown will assist 
you. It is not trifling. Twill be an excellent work. But be prudent 
with it. This day conclude letter to Johnston. Write Dutch song. 
Cheer up; take exercise and resume firmness; you must combat 

[Boswell to Johnston] 

Utrecht, 20 January 1764 

MY DEAR SIR, . . . The whole of your letter shows me the 
continuance of that warm friendship which I hope shall never 
cease to fill the hearts of us both. Your complying with my request 
in writing from Grange pleases me much. Such little agreeable 
circumstances are not to be neglected. We should think no inno- 
cent gratification, however small, beneath our enjoying. Let us 
lighten our moments in this state of existence every lawful way 
we can. 

You have given me the advice which I expected from you with 

8 Fellow pupils. 

9 Johannes David Hahn, M.D., was Professor of Philosophy and Natural 
Sciences at the University of Utrecht. He practised medicine, and was Belle 
de Zuylen's physician. Boswell later consulted him about his own health. 

1 So far unidentified. Boswell spells the name Brower. 

2 An ambitious scheme of compiling a dictionary of words peculiar to Scots 
English which will occupy a great deal of his thought in the weeks following. 
He describes the project at length, below, p. 162. 

20 January 1764 121 

regard to my matrimonial scheme. Often and often have I con- 
sulted you upon such projects; and I really believe that had it not 
been for your prudent counsel, I should have been a husband two 
winters ago, and by that means should have ere this time been a 
very unhappy man. This last scheme was founded on the same 
principles with my former ones; and now I am equally glad at my 
not having attempted to realize it 

If I remember right, I gave you in my last a very full recital 
of the severe fit of melancholy which I was seized with upon my 
first coming to Utrecht, as also of my having taken a manly reso- 
lution to conquer it, and of my having succeeded I told you 

that my honoured *riend Mr. Samuel Johnson had supplied me 
with the weapons of philosophy. It was in The Rambler that I 
found the causes of my woe described and cures pointed out. I beg 
you may get that book. It costs twelve shillings. But it is worth 
much more. Study it, and endeavour to preserve the noble senti- 
ments which it inspires. It is the best book that England has pro- 
duced for such people as you and me. It proceeds upon the supposi- 
tion that we are here in a state where there is much gloom, and 
fortifies the mind to enable it to support the evils which attack it. 

I have got so much to say to you that I should not dwell too long 
on any one topic; and yet again, I find I have much to say on every 
topic. I must do my best, and give you as much as I can, till my 
paper be filled. . . 

I have found Utrecht to be a most excellent place. I have here 
excellent opportunity to study, and at the same time to see foreign 
company. There are a number of noble families who reside here in 
the winter. I have been received into their assemblies, where I pass 
two or three evenings a week improving in French and in polite- 
ness. At Christmas we had a month of vacation. I then went to The 
Hague, where I passed three weeks in the most brilliant gaiety. The 
style of living there is much in the manner of Paris. I found my re- 
lations there to be people of the first rank, and was treated by them 
with the utmost civility. I had recommendations to a variety of 

122 20 January 1764 

people. I was presented to the Prince of Orange and the other prin- 
ces there, to all the foreign ambassadors in short, to everybody. 
I passed a couple of days at Leyden, where I supped twice with the 
young Prince of Strelitz, our Queen's brother, once at his own 
house, once at the house 'of Mr. Gordon, Lord Aberdeen's brother; 
and now I am returned to this seat of the Dutch muses and have 
resumed my studious regularity with much satisfaction. 

Formerly such a change of life used to unhinge me quite. Now 
I am firm and keep my post. I shall ever reverence Utrecht, for it 
was there that I first began to act upon steady and manly princi- 
ples. I am already not a little altered. But altered for the better. 
However, I must guard against extremes. No longer ago than last 
winter I was the ardent votary of pleasure, a gay sceptic who never 
looked beyond the present hour, a hero and philosopher in dissipa- 
tion and vice. Now I am all devoted to prudence and to morality. I 
am full of the dignity of human nature; and so far am I from in- 
dulging myself in mimicry and ludicrous jocularity that I must 
always have some grave or some useful subject. Perhaps I am too 
much an enthusiast in rectitude. But candour makes me own that 
rectitude has to me all the charms of novelty. You see then in what 
situation your friend now is. Are you not happy to be informed 
of it? 

On Christmas day I was at The Hague and received the blessed 
sacrament at the Ambassador's chapel. His chaplain is just that 
genteel, amiable, Church-of -England clergyman whom I have 
heard you say that you would like to have in your house, were you 
a man of great fortune. 

I have no room to write you remarks on this country. I must 
refer them till meeting, when you will be entertained with my 
foreign journal, which contains already 310 pages. In the mean 
time, I would have you read Sir William Temple's Observations on 
the Netherlands. They are short and entertaining, and will give 
you some idea of the country where your friend is. Into whatever 
nation I shall go, I must have you to read an account of it. Sir Wil- 
liam Temple in his Observations says something particularly ap- 

2o January 1764 123 

plicable to you and me. You cannot miss it; so your mentioning it 
to me will show me that you have read the book. 3 

I think it is a pity to take off the embargo on my papers. How- 
ever, I indulge you with liberty to read my letters: but let the jour- 
nal be reserved till I am sitting at your fireside. 4 I hope my papers 
are safely preserved. Lest they should grow damp, I would wish to 
have them taken out of the box sometimes and exposed to the air in 
a room where there is a good fire. By the by, my father's opening 
my four bundles dwelt so in my mind that I took the liberty to 
mention it to him in my last letter. I have not as yet had his an- 
swer. My intention was that he should ask pardon as a friend, 
which I hope he will do. 5 

8 "Strangers among [the Dutch] are apt to complain of the spleen, but those 
of the country seldom or never; which I take to proceed from their being ever 
busy, or easily satisfied. For this seems to be the disease of people that are 
idle, or think themselves but ill entertained, and attribute every fit of dull 
humour, or imagination, to a formal disease \\hich they have found this 
name for; whereas such fits are incident to all men at one time or another, 
from the fumes of indigestion ... or from some changes or approaches of 

change in winds and weather Yet this effect is not so strong but that 

business or intention of thought commonly either resists or diverts it; and 
those who understand the motions of it let it pass, and return to themselves" 
(Chapter 4). 

4 During Boswell's stay in London, 1762-1763, he had sent Johnston weekly 
instalments of his journal, each accompanied by a letter. He had stipulated 
that after Johnston had read journal and letters once, he was to put them 
away in a box, not to be looked at again until Boswell returned to read them 
with him. 

5 After Boswell had gone to London in November, 1762, he sent back to Edin- 
burgh directions that certain sealed bundles of his private papers, then lying 
in his father's house, should be delivered to Johnston. On Johnston's reporting 
that some one had opened the bundles,, Boswell wrote an angry letter to his 
father, whereupon Lord Auchinleck broke off correspondence and talked of 
selling the estate. See Boswell's London Journal, * 762-* 7^3, 1950, p. 274 n. 8. 
Not a single letter from Boswell to his father has as yet been recovered. It is 
not known whether Lord Auchinleck did "ask pardon as a friend." We can 
give him the benefit of the doubt, for a letter from him received by Boswell 
on i February is missing. 

124 2O January 1764 

I have not passed so sound a winter these six years. Yet I am not 
quite content; for I do not enjoy enough. I am afraid to resign my- 
self to pleasing sensations lest I should be too susceptible of uneasy 
ones. I am really of too anxious a temper, for I dare say you will 
think I have no reason to fear my having too hardened a soul. 

My dear Johnston, never allow yourself to doubt of my friend- 
ship for you. Go to Arthur Seat, where we have often walked and 
where I hope we shall walk yet oftener. Recall every agreeable 
hour, and be assured that as long as that old mountain stands, so 
long shall my friendship last. 

You give me great comfort by your accounts of Charles. I trust 
him entirely to you. I left 20 in the hands of Herries and Coch- 
rane. I shall write to them soon, so as that they may answer your 
draught for 10. I shall write in a week or two, so that you may 
have the money before you go to Annandale. 

I am happy to find that you are so well with the worthy 
Doctor. 6 . . . He writes me much good of you. Davy gives me un- 
common satisfaction. He will be a man. Tell him I shall write to 
him soon. Let me hear from you often, and send your letters to your 
friend in London. 7 1 ever remain, my dear Sir, your most affection- 
ate friend, 


Die 8 mihi ubi habitas hoc anno. An floret theatrum Edinbur- 
gense? An Dominus Digges adhuc in scenam prodit? Amicos nos- 
tros communes meo nomine saluta. Solus sum Anglus in hac 

6 Dr. Boswell. T This friend remains unidentified. 

8 This postscript was written on the only portion of the sheet still remaining 
blank except the rectangle that Boswell had reserved for the address. When 
the sheet was folded and sealed, the postscript was exposed on the outside. 
Hence the mild disguise of a learned tongue. It may be translated as follows: 
"Tell me where you are living this year. Does the Edinburgh theatre 
flourish? Does Mr. Digges still hold forth on the stage? Greet our common 
friends in my name. I am the only Englishman in this university, and con- 
sequently I am every day in the company of foreigners. I hope to pass jovial 
nights with you at Thorn's, that excellent host." "Thorn" was a vintner 
in Edinburgh; the Soaping Club met in his house. 

2 o January 1 764 125 

Academia et igitur cum exteris consortium diurnum habeo. Spero 
noctes hilares tecum tenere apud Thomam hospitem ilium excel- 


Not the consummate laziness of swine 

Is greater than this laziness of mine. 

Were you to lay me in a dirty stye, 

My limbs I'd stretch and say, "Do let me lie!" 

By my warm furnace I lethargic sit, 

And ease much rather choose than lively wit. 

Luxurious living any man will spoil 

And make him puny and averse to toil. 

Now drowsy Morpheus deadens all my powers; 

For once I'll sleep me full eleven hours. 

SATURDAY 21 JANUARY. Inviolable Plan today. Yesterday 
you was at Assembly chez Mademoiselles Bottestein. You was sur- 
prisingly uneasy with awkwardness; you must force off this. You 
played good party, that's all. At night you was quite lazy, and you 
indulged it to complete week after vacation; and now begin firm- 
ness; swear it. Lethargic gloom is now attempting you. But by 
exercise till you sweat, drive him off. Eat less and drink more. This 
day, journal till one. Then Brown, and much version. Then home, 
journal till eight. Then Trotz, fine. You're engaged next assembly 
with Mademoiselle de Zuylen; cheer up. 


With the same ease that blackguards feed on tripe 

Have I, James Boswell, learnt to smoke a pipe: 

For I am now a very Dutchman grown, 

As all at Utrecht cannot fail to own. 

My father smoked full thirty years ago, 

And I most wisely in his footsteps go. 

While in my grate the wood is blazing seen, 

126 21 January 1 764 

Upon a table I my elbow lean, 
And with a visage most composed and bluff, 9 
Steams of tobacco solemnly I puff. 

[c. 2 2 JANUARY. FRENCH THEME] Laziness is my true enemy, 
and indeed is the enemy of all the virtues that can ennoble a man. 
One may as well cease to be as to be lazy. I will go further. It is 
.better not to be than to be lazy, because if a man does not exist 
and consequently has no good, he has also no evil. But laziness is 
worse than a privation of existence, for it is impossible to be lazy 
without being depraved. Man was created to be busy, and all his 
faculties, of soul as well as of body, become useless and spoil in 
idleness. Well! Why do I make these reflections just now? The 
reason is a curious one: because just now I am lazy myself. I 
have a natural disposition to that vice. I am fat, and I have a 
temperament so constituted that although I have plenty of fire 
I have also a good deal of sluggishness. It is a rather extraordinary 
constitution. An officer in the English military service 1 gave a 
very ingenious illustration of it. He said that I was like a great 
stone couched on the slope of a mountain, and while I stayed there, 
I was lumpish and heavy; but when I was once set in motion, I 
went with amazing velocity, so that it was impossible to stop me 
until, the projectile force being exhausted, I came again to rest 
Indeed, it is a very apt illustration, for when I am in company, it 
is equal odds that you will see me taciturn and sombre, and on the 
other hand, if I begin to speak, you will hear a brilliant vivacity, 
a rapidity of thoughts; if I may use that expression, a fire of 
language of which you have not often heard the like. It is the same 
in my actions. For example, when I have been some days without 
studying, I have a shocking disposition to indolence. I am wretched 
when I am idle, but I have not enough force of mind to return 

* "Bluff* in the eighteenth century meant rather "surly, blustering, domi- 
neering" than "roughly but good-naturedly frank." Mr. Ernest Weekley has 
conjectured with much plausibility that the general shift in meaning was 
effected by Sir Walter Scott, who always gave the word its "modern" sense. 



22 January 1764 127 

promptly to work, and it is only through the pangs of ennui that I 
am obliged to take a road which I am sure leads me to happiness. 
TUESDAY 24 JANUARY. . . . Yesterday you began to recover. 
You got up in good time, brisk, and shook off sloth. This is really 
part of the disease of your bad constitution, and you must use the 
constant regimen of early rising and exercise to strengthen your 
weak nerves and make your sluggish blood circulate. It will grow 
feasy and pleasant, and you'll harden more and more. You was 
gloomy during the day, and owned to Rose amid his gloom that the 
climate oppressed you. . . . This day push on. Recover more and 
more. Read law in morning. Learn to rise at six and labour truly. 
Beware slovenly study. . . . Assembly, fine, and play with Veuve* 

Ac. ... 

\c. 26 JANUARY. FRENCH THEME] To be learned is un- 
doubtedly very pleasant. We all have natural curiosity, and the 
satisfaction of that curiosity is very agreeable; it is also flattering, 
because when we make comparisons between ourselves and others 
who are ignorant of what we know, there results a gratification 
of our pride, a gratification by no means contemptible. On the 
contrary, it is perhaps one of the greatest gratifications that human 
nature is capable of. I confess for my own part that I have a great 
deal of pride, too much, in fact, not to feel pain from it sometimes, 
for my pride, like the vanity of Mademoiselle de Zuylen, is 
boundless,* and consequently is often shocked. It is not enough 
merely to be proud or vain; it is necessary at the same time that 
other people should think we have a right to be so. ... 

SATURDAY 28 JANUARY At Assembly you was easy 

with la Comtesse, but saw her piqued. You must make up this by 

2 The very rich and lovely young widow, Madame Geelvinck, who will 
figure prominently in the memoranda from this point on. She was born in 
1738, her maiden name Catherina Elisabeth Hasselaer; married Lieve Geel- 
vinck in 1756, and became a widow the next year. She was a close friend of 
Belle de Zuylen. 

8 "Sans bornes" underlined in the original. Boswell is quoting from Belle's 
character-sketch of herself called "The Portrait of Zelide": "Naturellement 
vaine, sa vanite* est sans bornes." See p. 185. 

128 28 January 1764 

easy complaisance, as she can do you more service than Zelide, 
whom, however, you must be a good friend to. You played at cards 
with Madame Geelvinck charming indeed. You said to Z61ide, 
"I love Sue, &c.* But the contrary is true with you and me." "No," 
said she, "I was prepossessed in your favour." "But I was not in 
yours." Too severe, &c. . . . 6 


Since the strange ev'ning that I first began 
To write ten lines a day on stated plan, 
Ne'er have I been in such a woeful plight 
As that in which I find myself tonight. 
Of learned Trotzius I have been the guest, 
And with his heavy supper am oppressed. 
Lazy and hot, most sensibly I feel 
That I have eat roast rabbits and roast veal; 
And though impatience goads my fretful brain, 
Not one idea can I thence obtain. 

[29-30 JANUARY. FRENCH THEMES] ...To confess the 
truth, I was badly brought up. I was taught the ancient languages, 
but I was not taught things. I had naturally an excellent memory, 
and that memory became still better through cultivation. But, alas! 
what was it that I remembered? It was a mass of phrases, of rules 
of grammar, and perhaps a few little stories. But I was not trained 
to think about what I was reading; on the contrary, I acquired a 
habit of skimming through a book without extracting any ideas 
from it. I remember perfectly how my mother promised to make me 
a present of a Confession of Faith of the Church of Scotland, pro- 
vided that I read it from beginning to end. A Confession of Faith 

* / love Sue was a song currently popular. I know it only by title. The words 
probably say that the lover had loved Sue before he had ever met her. 
5 "Too severe," since the words are recorded in French, may be Belle's 

2g January 1 764 1 29 

was at any rate a book. I had a great desire to form a library, and 
I used every legitimate means to fill my shelves. I therefore read 
as quickly as I could that collection of absurd unintelligibility, 
but my mind did not receive the least impression from it, Election 
and Reprobation and Irresistible Grace were to me as unknown as 
the systems of the votaries of Vishnu, Ishvara, and Brahma in the 
East Indies. 6 All the same, I read the book and my mother was 
satisfied. But there is no doubt that if we are not taught to give our 
attention to what we hear and what we read, we acquire bad habits 
and lose the power of acquiring knowledge from books. Another 
very bad usage in Scotland is to take children to church before 
they can understand what the minister says. This creates a habit 
quite contrary to Nature, namely, a habit of listening to a man 
speak for half an hour at a time without attending to a word he 

Today is the 30th of January, a day which the Church of 
England has set apart for a day of fasting; and if Britons will only 
think seriously on the melancholy occasion of this fast, they ought 
to think that it merits observation in Great Britain for ever. It was 
on this day in the year 1649 ^ at impious rebels put King Charles 
I to death; and to increase their horrible crime, they committed it 
under pretext of law and liberty. Thus all the principles of religion 
and government were violated by the murder of our amiable and 
pious Sovereign, who with much justice has acquired the title of 
martyr. We admit that he had faults, or rather made mistakes. 
But when we regard them as the causes for which those scoundrels 
led him to the scaffold, they appear to us like slight stains on an 
exalted reputation. I do not wish now to dispute with the Whigs, 
that is, with those who love republican principles so much that 
they forget the true British Constitution and have small respect 
for the Kong, who nevertheless is, as we say, at the head of our 
Constitution. I address myself solely to those who have been called 

6 Ishvara, "(the) Lord," is a familiar title of the god Siva. BoswelTs actual 
spellings are Vistnou and Eswara. 

130 3 January 1 764 

Tories: that is, to those who maintain true loyalty. I use these 
ludicrous terms because the fact is that they have been in use so 
long that they give us instantly the ideas of these different parties 
and give it even with a particular force which explanation does 
not give* . . , We have been accustomed to hear these words from 
our earliest youth in a particular sense. Consequently they make 
a more lively impression on us than a long argument. 

I ask you, my friends, if so shocking an event ought not to be 
called to mind every year by the people of England. The Whigs 
are in agreement with us on the point, but they wish the day to be 
observed for a very different reason than that of the Royalists. 
When the present Earl of Dundonald was a member of Parlia- 
ment, he went into a church in London on the soth of January, 
although he was a violent Whig. Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, one 
of the Tory leaders, came in. "Ah!" said he, "Cochrane! Is it you I 
see? What! Do you wish to celebrate this day?" "Yes, Sir," replied 
he. "I think that this day ought to be celebrated in England from 
century to century, to remind our king that he has a joint in his 
neck." ... T 

7 This Earl of Dundonald, a blustering old Army officer, was Boswell's great- 
uncle; he succeeded to the peerage unexpectedly at the age of nearly seventy 
when a young cousin was killed at the siege of Louisburg. His retort (allow- 
ing for the fact that we cannot know its exact form in English) will be recog- 
nized as identical with that which Lord Auchinleck is said on the authority 
of Sir Walter Scott to have made to Dr. Johnson when Johnson asked him 
what good Cromwell had ever done to his country: "Good, Doctor! he gait 
kings ken that they had a lith in their neck." I have in at least two places pro- 
nounced this report of Scott's (which was first written down in 1829) to be 
apocryphal. Since it now appears on unimpeachable evidence that the re- 
mark figured in a family anecdote long before Scott's time, we must conclude 
that Scott may have been in receipt of a true tradition after all. Scott's manu- 
script, a letter to John Wilson Croker now in the Yale University Library, 
clearly reads, "God, Doctor i" and so the retort was printed by Croker. I do 
not hesitate, however, to adopt the brilliant emendation proposed to me by 
Dr. Marshall Waingrow, "Good" for "God." Scott's letters, particularly those 
written towards the end of his life, show many inadvertent omissions of words 
and letters. 

30 January 1 764 131 

[Received 30 January, John Mollison to Boswell] 

Rotterdam, 26 January 1764 

SIR: By order of Mr. Stewart, I have sent you herewith the 
cake he promised you; he 'wishes you may eat with as much 
pleasure as he sends it. He also begs you will return the small 
trunk, as he will have use for it soon. Sally begs to be kindly re- 
membered to you. On the morning you left this, she gave you 
change for a ducat, but you omitted to give her the ducat. No doubt 
you will recollect this circumstance, which she only puts you in 
mind of that it may not be forgot. I salute you kindly, and am, 
Sir, your most obedient humble servant, 


TUESDAY 31 JANUARY. Yesterday you did not strictly keep 
the Fast, as not being in Britain. You may be a Tory and have most 
warm loyalty for King George. But beware Jacobitism. Beware 
lest you slide to it imperceptibly. After dinner you disputed fairly 
with Brown on religion and found him a cold, low body. He was 
vulgar and rude. You laughed and said you'd never again dispute 

with him This day, law and journal. Write short to Stewart 8 

and to Mollison. Tomorrow begins spring and rising early. . . . 

WEDNESDAY i FEBRUARY At Assembly you appeared 

in sea-green and silver and was really brilliant much taken 
notice of and like an ambassador. You begin to be much at your 
ease and to take a true foreign polish. Madame Geelvinck was 
charming. You told her you expected to see her character by 

8 At the end of February Stewart left for England on business, and did not 
return to Holland until after BoswelTs departure. Boswell wrote to his father, 
Sir Michael, giving him a good report of Archibald's behaviour, and re- 
ceived a grateful acknowledgment from Archibald himself, but the two ap- 
pear not to have met again for many years. In 1770 Stewart purchased an 
estate in Tobago. Boswell, who saw him in London in 1772, says that he had 
acquired a fortune (part of it by gambling), but that he was badly deformed 
with rheumatism. He was killed at Tobago in 1779 while defending Irs ulan- 
tation against the crew of an American privateer. 

132 I February 1764 

Zelide. 9 She said, "It is not interesting." You said, "Oh, do not say 
that to me!" She said, "You, who are so sincere!" She saw what you 
meant. You played whist well. After it, you felt, for the first time 
in Holland, delicious love. la belle Veuve! She talked low to you 

9 A written character, a character-sketch, in French. There is what I take to 
be a copy of it in BoswelTs hand among the Boswell Papers. From it we learn 
that Madame Geelvinck had a slight cast in one or "both of her eyes, which 
were pretty, brown, and gentle; that her complexion was brilliant, her teeth 
handsome, and the lower part of her face pretty, but that her general expres- 
sion was more fetching than any of her features taken separately. "You have 
intelligence and discernment; you grasp immediately what is said to you, 
and you draw the right conclusion provided that no prejudice gets in the 
way. You do not believe that you know everything, and you like to learn. 
Your conversation is lively and easy, never affected, never too positive, sub- 
ject to no prevailing taste which causes too frequent a return to the same sub- 
jects. You speak with an agreeable negligence and informality; you listen 
with flattering and intelligent attention. Your badinages have an amusing 
vivacity; but, as nothing is perfect, they sometimes lack delicacy and taste. 
How fortunate are those whom you love! Your way of letting them know it 
is so natural, your caresses have an indescribable something so sincere and 
naive that they cannot but be infinitely sensible of it. . . . You show less 
good opinion of yourself than you do a wish to make yourself approved by 
others: less of pride than of vanity. That vanity, which is still very childish, 
unrefined, and spontaneous, causes a too great attachment to trifles: to phys- 
ical beauty, to fashions and dress, and a too visible attention to everything 
concerning yourself. Others would concern themselves about you more 
readily if you thought a little less about yourself: if you forgot yourself, at 
least occasionally. You are very easy to please, but you never think of in- 
spiring love, your coquetry is all in your manners, never in your intention. 

You have no more of it than you allow to be seen You adopt a little 

too readily and without enough examination the ideas of others, whether 
as concerns your conduct or your opinions. . . . But ... a character of this 
sort . . . has . . . advantages: ... it is the cause of your complaisance, 
... it contributes more than anything else towards making you loved. Men 
love nothing so much as that which flatters them; and you cannot flatter 
them more sensibly than by imitating them; nothing , . . will give you 
greater assurance of their esteem, their friendship." It is very important to 
remember that la Veuve was only twenty-five years old. 

i February 1764 133 

and close, perhaps to feel breath. 1 All the Heeren looked blue. You 
took her hand to the coach, and your frame thrilled. . . , 

[i FEBRUARY. DUTCH THEME]" Since I plan to learn the 
Dutch language; that is, since I wish to learn at least a little, so 
that I can converse with the natives of this country, I have resolved 
to write a little in that language every day. Because today is the 
first of February, I am beginning with the greater pleasure, for it 
is the beginning of a month and also the beginning of spring. 

These pages which I shall write will have a great deal of 
imagination, but I fear that they will have no coherency, The 
Reverend Mr. Brown plans to correct them, and I hope he will not 
be ill-natured. Indeed, I must confess that my subjects are very 
defective, as well in matter as in style. But that is only the be- 
ginning, for with practice I shall write like a very Dutchman. . . . 

THURSDAY 2 FEBRUARY. Yesterday you got up at seven, 
but uneasy by having lain with clothes on. You wrote law, but you 
did not attend enough to Trotz. . . . Yesterday you spoke too much 
of Veuve and sat up late against rules. Beware. This day, labour. 
Swear retenue and manners, and seek not ease by talking; it gives 
it not. Try silence one week. Think no more of Veuve; 'tis sickening 
to noble mind. 

[c. 2 FEBRUARY. DUTCH THEME] The city of Utrecht is a 
fairly large one. It is not very wide, but it is long. It is encircled by 
ramparts, and I believe it was fortified under the Spanish rule. It is 
a very good place to study in; there are various excellent hoogleer- 
meesteren there. I am well aware that for the most part they are 
called "professors." But that is to borrow a French word, and I 
shall never do that. The Dutch have no more need of French words 
than of French money; of that I am sure. We shall not borrow from 
the Monsieurs. The Dutch language is an old, strong, rich lan- 
guage; and since I boast that I have Dutch blood in my veins, I say 
that a Hollander should scorn the language of a Frenchman when- 

1 "To see if your breath was sweet." Feel meaning smell was once common 
in English. 2 See pp. x, xv, xvii. 

134 2 February 1 764 

ever it is compared with his own. It has annoyed me to hear so 
much French mixed with the Dutch. It is a scandalous business 
that free peoples should in that fashion decline every day from the 
sober strength of their respectable ancestors. 

[c. 2 FEBRUARY. FRENCH THEME] When I came home 
yesterday evening, I scolded my servant, not at all harshly but 
with proper restraint. I said, "Frangois, really you don't know how 
to pack coats; just see how this one is wrinkled. You must fold the 
collar over and not this part, because although it gets a little 
crumpled at the neck, when one puts it on, the shoulders stretch 
it out and the wrinkles don't show; but it takes a long time for this 
part to come smooth. What do you call this part?" "Sir, it is the 
pans (skirts) of a coat. But I assure you that I packed them well on 
your trip. The coat was longer than the trunk, though not much, 
and I did fold it over a little at the collar. So I am sure that the 
skirts could not have been rumpled in the trunk. I must have folded 
it badly in the drawer here after you came back from The Hague." 
After a harangue like that I had nothing to say. I undressed in 
great tranquillity and set myself to read Monsieur Voltaire. . . . 

I take credit to myself for having been so reasonable with my 
servant in a situation where passionate people like yourself would 
have beaten him. 3 You say to me, "Why not strike a servant some- 
times, when one feels like it? It is an amusement of a sort, it relieves 
one's spleen to punish the cause of it. The desire to avenge ourselves 
on those who have offended us is universal; and Nature herself 
shows us that it is right. You observe that a child, when he falls 
on a stone that hurts him, is angry and kicks it or beats it with a 
stick, and it is only afterwards that he is appeased." Sir, I must 
reply to your lesson in philosophy, but do not expect a word-for- 
word reply. Be content, Sir, if I refute you in the large. I assure you 
that I should not find any amusement in beating a poor man who 
dares not make any resistance. It is in my opinion a shameful act of 
cowardice to behave like that Nature, I admit, does inspire 

3 Many of the French themes are impassioned arguments with an imaginary 
interlocutor. See pp. 48, 79. 

2 February 1764 135 

us with sentiments of vengeance, but the same Nature inspires us 
also with sentiments of forgiveness towards those who have of- 
fended us. On the one sentiment is founded the other, and judge for 
yourself which one of these two sentiments is the more amiable. 
That same child whose example you are so much inclined to follow, 
when he begins to reflect a little, is filled with remorse for having 
caused pain to another "even to that poor stone," as he says, with 
a simplicity that is also very natural. I have myself seen a child, 
who, after having beaten his nurse for some offence which had 
greatly irritated him, poured out floods of tears when she 
moaned. . . . 

FRIDAY 3 FEBRUARY At Society, Des Essar 4 gave queries 

as to beasts, which were not answered. But the Society disputed 
the optimus mundus.* Brown pushed the place of such a being in 
the scale as man. It was said there was no necessity for a scale: we 
might have been all angels. "Come," said I, "we would not take 
up more room as happy beings than as unhappy." "But," said 
Brown, "the space must be filled up." "No, let it be a vacuum, a 
lumber-place, and, if you please, cram your malunf into it and so 
have the rest clear." You called Pope a blockhead, &c.; 'twas heed- 
less. . . . This day resolve firm to be man. Be on guard for French 
and no ridicule. Make your best of your worst winter 

4 For an account of Des Essar, see p. 203. The Society was now meeting on 
Thursday evenings. 

5 Whether this is the best of all possible worlds, the argument of Pope's Essay 
on Man: 

Of systems possible, if 'tis confessed 
That Wisdom Infinite must form the best, 
Where all must full or not coherent be, 
And all that rises, rise in due degree; 
Then, in the scale of reas'ning life, 'tis plain 
There must be somewhere such a rank as Man; 
And all the question, wrangle e'er so long, 
Is only this, if GOD has plac'd him wrong? 

I. 43-50 

6 Evil. 

136 4 February 1764 

SATURDAY 4 FEBRUARY At Assembly ... you spoke 

long time to belle Veuve. She stood up and she whispered and 
she corrected your French delightfully. She said she'd give you 
Zelide in her own writing. 7 You told her 'twas strange 'twas the 
very thing you wished. She said, "I am glad that we meet" You 
said you was physiognomist. She said, "I reveal little, but I am 
very sincere." You are much in love. She perhaps wishes to marry 
rationally. But have a care. Mention never a word of her. Seem 
at ease, till perhaps in long time you mention it to her 

[c. 4 FEBRUARY. DUTCH THEME] "Dag, Mynheer!" ("Good 
day, Sir!") That is a proper Dutch salutation; and if you wander 
through the streets of Utrecht, you will hear it a dozen times be- 
tween morning and evening. The Hollanders also say, "Dienaar, 
Heer!" ("Your servant, Sir!"), but with such quick enunciation 
that a foreigner will think that it is "Ja, Mynheer" ("Yes, Sir"). 
When I first came to Holland, I thought it was that, and I always 
said, "Yes, Sir." ... It is amazing that so many Englishmen have 
studied in Holland without having learned any of the language. 
It is said that the Dutch language is a language for horses. Monsieur 
Castillon said so, after having lived in Utrecht for several years. He 
was on the Amsterdam schuit when he made that comparison, and 
if there had not been a man there who knew him, I believe that 
a stout Dutchman would have thrown him into the canal. 


The cloudy vapours from my brain to drive 
And make me feel that I'm again alive 
(For sleep has ever been compar'd to death, 
And nothing parts them but a little breath), 
Around my room I vigorously strut 
And then a score of sprightly capers cut; 
Next on my flute most pleasantly I play, 
And as I feel myself grow light and gay, 
I make the house with charming music ring, 
And only wish that you were there to sing. 
"Would lend you "The Portrait of Zelide' in Belle de Zuylen's own hand." 

5 February 1764 137 

SUNDAY 5 FEBRUARY You advance well in dictionary. 

At dinner you was really on guard and retenu, and spoke French. 
* * * 8 Stay, stay. Between one and two la Veuve was at Madame 
Amerongen's door. You approached her timidly. She was quite 
a goddess. She said, "Do you wish to go in?" You went with her 
and was presented to Monsieur and Madame Amerongen and to 
Monsieur de Natewisch. 9 The sister was cold and backward, and 
seemed to dread strangers and designing foreigners on the Prize. 
You was composed and polite, though timid. La Veuve looked all 
elegance and sweetness. You sat half an hour; you was charmed; 
you concealed even this. Bravo! You do right never to speak of a 
thing till long after; and if you speak only French, you'll learn 
retenue, for you don't blab in French. . . . 

MONDAY 6 FEBRUARY. . , . This day, public academical ora- 
tion, then Greek, then walk; then dine and for one week eat mod- 
erate, more than usual, and few fruit; and pray be retenu to avoid 
Scotch sarcastic jocularity. Never be so rude as to try it. At four 
Mademoiselle de Zuylen. Be modest and on guard; now on trial. 
Study harder. Have prudent plan. 

TUESDAY 7 FEBRUARY. Yesterday you heard Hennert's 
oratio. 1 He was lively and eloquent, and you really saw something 
like- an university: the professors all in gowns, the crowd of stu- 
dents, and the noble music. 2 At dinner you was retenu, only looked 
so that Mademoiselle 3 said [you had an] ironical air. Beware of 
this. You drank tea at Monsieur de Zuylen's. He took you cordially 
by the hand. All was en famille and fine. Mademoiselle de Zuylen 

8 The asterisks appear in the manuscript. I do not know what they mean. 

9 Madame Amerongen was Madame Geelvinck's sister, Monsieur de Nate- 
wisch, Monsieur Amerongen's brother. 

1 On the departure of Castillon for Berlin (see p. 39 n. 2) , Johan Frederik Hen- 
nert had been called to Utrecht as Professor of Philosophy, Mathematics, and 
Astronomy. This was his inaugural address, De Ingenio Mathematici. 

2 "Utrecht has a university, but with as little appearance of such an institu- 
tion as that of Leyden. The students have no academical dress; and then- 
halls, which are used only for lectures and exercises, are formed in the clois- 
ters of the ancient cathedral" (Charles Campbell, The Traveller's Complete 
Guide through Belgium, Holland, and Germany, 1815, p. 95) . 3 Kinloch. 

138 7 February 1 764 

was more agreeable than ever, for she was moderate and tempered 
and in plain, comfortable style. You talked of your dictionary. He 
said one Pell published a collection of Dutch and English, but he 
should like to see the Scotch. She roasted you about it as being trih 
fling. But you told her all was to be liked that was useful even 
turfs.* She put the dictionary under that. You said the words were 
your children, and you'd protect your family. You was fine but 
rather too gay. Bonnet came in; you spoke Dutch, and he politely 
offered book. . . . 

I drank tea at Heer van Zuylen's. He was very polite; indeed, he 
received me even in the style of a friend. His daughter was highly 
amusing; yet she told me later that she was not in good humour. 
It is certainly amazing how a young lady can pretend so well; but 
then it is commonly said that women are extremely shrewd and 
can make men believe whatever they choose. Also the two 5 sons 
of the gentleman were there: one of them a naval lieutenant in the 
service of Holland (although he has been for three years on an 
English man-of-war) , the other a young fellow who has not yet 
chosen his vocation. It was very pleasant to see the way in which 
the father and the sons conducted themselves towards one another. 
I did not see there either testy imperiousness or timid subjection, 
but the genteel ease which ought always to be found in a family. 
Heer van Zuylen is one of the most ancient noblemen in the Seven 
Provinces, and he is very wealthy too, for he married an Amster- 
dam lady, a merchant's daughter, with a great deal of money. 

After we had been sitting some time, Mynheer Bonnet, the 
Professor of Theology, came in. I was very much surprised to 
find him a lively and cheerful man. I tried to speak a little Dutch, 
and thus we became excellent company. Heer van Zuylen men- 
tioned my Scottish dictionary, and the Professor said that he had 

4 Probably with a gesture towards the container of peats for the stove or fire- 
place. Turf means peat in both Dutch and English. 

5 There were actually three, but the eldest, Willem (aged twenty-one), was 
not at this time in Utrecht. Of the two that Boswell met, Diederik, the sailor, 
was twenty and Vincent, seventeen. 

7 February 1 764 139 

a dictionary in which the connection between the Low Dutch, the 
Old Saxon, the Icelandic, and the Latin languages is exhibited. 
The author's name is Lambert ten Kate, and the book is in two 
volumes. 6 I expressed a wish to see this book, and the Professor 
with great politeness said, "Sir, I shall send it to you tomorrow." 
I thought I could not do less than pay the Professor a visit. So 
I went there, and found him at home, and was very well received. 
We spoke both Latin and Dutch, and we agreed to meet sometimes. 

At six in the afternoon I sent my servant to the Honourable 
Professor, and he brought me the dictionary, which is indeed a 
treasure. It is written in Dutch, and I do not yet know Dutch well 
enough to understand it entirely. But the Reverend Mr. Brown, 
agent for H.M. the King of Great Britain and pastor of the Scottish 
church at Utrecht, was at my house and looked at it. After reading 
in it for half an hour, he threw up his hands and exclaimed with 
great admiration, "Well, Sirs! I have never seen a book that pleased 
me more. Here we have four languages; and here we also have 
many good dissertations upon language in general. The author 
shows how all languages have come from one original, and it must 
be granted that he supports his opinions with many strong proofs." 

Mr. Brown intends to translate the book, but he has so much 
else to do at present that he does not have enough spare time. Never- 
theless, he will in the mean time translate into French a few bits 
of it which he will read before our Thursday Philosophical Society. 
It will be a very good subject for discussion by the learned mem- 
bers. It will introduce us to many curious considerations. We shall 
quote various maxims from ancient history, and we shall make 
many observations concerning the formation of languages. We 
shall try to show how mankind has been changed by a small 
difference in pronunciation. I do not expect that we shall all be in 
accord, for the proverb says, there will be as many opinions as 
there are men. 7 And besides we are of different nationalities: 
French, English, and German. 

6 It had been published in 1723, one of the most penetrating works in Ger- 
manic philology to appear before Jacob Grimm. 

7 "Quot homines, tot sententiae" (Terence, Phormio, 454). 

140 8 February 1764 

WEDNESDAY 8 FEBRUARY Yesterday you sent note to 

Madame Geelvinck, quite young man of fashion, easy and lively 

like Digges At Assembly you was quite at ease. You begin 

really to have the foreign usage. You said to Zelide, "Come, I will 
make a pact of frankness with you for the whole winter, and you 
with me." You talked freely to her of prudence. But you talked 
too much. They all stared. Be on guard. This day, go on: journal, 
but not too full. Mem. religion. 

[c. 8 FEBRUARY. FRENCH THEME] Again I must complain of 
Indolence: she is a tyrant who oppresses me, who confines me in 
bed as criminals are confined in their cells. In vain I try to rise. 
I am weighed down with the heaviest of fetters. I have freedom of 
motion only to stretch my legs and fold my arms; my very eyes 
appear to be held shut with fine chains. What witchcraft! How can 
that she-demon exert such influence over a man, especially a man 
who boasts of having an extraordinary portion of celestial fire? 
earthly body, it is you who cause me thus to be brought into 
bondage. Troublesome burden, it is to you that I owe almost all 
my ills. My immortal soul is so bound to you that it suffers all 
your pains, that it can barely resist your desires; or, to express 
myself more precisely, your appetites. That great philosopher, 
that, noble Christian the Apostle Paul, complains of you with the 
enthusiasm of a lofty soul which finds itself shut in a gloomy 
prison. "Wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this 
body of sin and death?" Illustrious saint! You suffered much in the 
war of the spirit, but you attained to unending felicity and glory. 
Yes, it is true that in heaven we shall always be happy. GOD in his 
goodness has told us so, and we must believe it. No doubt we are 
unable to form an idea of that felicity. Eye hath not seen, nor ear 
heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which 
GOD hath prepared for them that love him, those who by patient 
perseverance in their Christian course seek glory, honour, and 
immortality. These are animating words. Do not speak to me of 
the gloom of our religion. This life, I confess, is gloomy; and if it 
were not for the hope of another, we should be in most deplorable 

8 February 1 764 141 

case. But then we are assured that we are but strangers here, that 
we are only in a state of probation, and if we show ourselves 
good soldiers of Jesus Christ, if we do our best to elevate our souls, 
after death we shall be received into the company of the angels and 
of GOD himself. 

THURSDAY 9 FEBRUARY (A triple memorandum). 8 Yester- 
day you did not attend enough to Trotz. Amend this. At dinner 
you was on guard. It was fine, cheerful day. At four young 
De Zuylen came for you, and you went quite easy; was well with 
Mademoiselle, Bernard, and Rose, but was really hurt with her 
imprudent rattling and constant grin. You was angry for having 
thought of putting any confidence in her, for she blabbed, "It is 
your continual study to check your imagination." She is really 
foolish and raised. Be her friend, but trust her not. You had first 
been at la Comtesse's, who was snappish but polite enough; only 
pretended to understand your French worse than she did vile 
spite, low cunning. At concert you was charmed with bassoon. 
You was timid, but at last went to Madame Geelvinck. She said, 
"Our faces are not unfamiliar to each other." A little after, you 
said, "Nor our sentiments." Love was introduced, how I know 
not; perhaps on such occasions the little god jumps in between 
the parties. She said, "I believe there is more evil than good in the 
world, and consequently more evil in love." You said, "There 
is only jealousy; that is horrible." 9 

MME GEELVINCK. Yes, I am as jealous as a fury. 

BOSWELL. But when others are jealous, have you charity enough 
to do nothing to increase it? 

MME GEELVINCK. Sir, if one found fault because I stood before 
the window, &C. 1 

8 That is, one filling three pages instead of the usual one. 

9 This dialogue, like most of those in the memoranda, does not give the names 
of the speakers and sometimes does not separate one speech clearly from 

1 "That would depend on the kind of behaviour on my part that made one 

142 9 February 1764 

BOSWELL. Then if both parties follow that rule of action, 
jealousy has no influence, and love can be preserved always. 

MME GEELVINCK. But after love comes ennui. 

BOSWELL. Madame, I am too frank not to confess that I fear that 
too, yet I hope it is possible to guard against the evils of love. 

MME GEELVINCK. I believe that one can truly love only once. 

BOSWELL. Are you sure of that, Madame? I am not. 

MME GEELVINCK. But you have been in love? 

BOSWELL. I thought it was true love, but the lady was fickle. I 
am much indebted to you for having introduced me to true love. 2 

MME GEELVINCK. Are you sincere? 

BOSWELL. Yes, I assure you that I am. Are you sincere too? Come, 
will you make a pact of sincerity between us? 


BOSWELL. You see I speak without fear. 

MME GEELVINCK. You are wrong if you are afraid of me. 

BOSWELL. Well! I can speak to you quite openly? 

MME GEELVINCK. Just as you speak when by yourself. 

BOSWELL. Permit me merely to say, "I admire you," from time 
to time. What must one do when one is in love? 

MME GEELVINCK. I don't know. 

BOSWELL. You are in a peculiar situation: beautiful, pleasant, 
and, what is generally more important, rich. Can you tell if people 
really love you? 

MME GEELVINCK. It is difficult. You must not repeat this 

BOSWELL. Madame, I am discreet. I would that my heart were 
plucked out for you to see. 

MME GEELVINCK. Are you good-natured? 

BOSWELL. On my honour. I am a very honest man with a very 
generous heart. But I am a little capricious, though I shall cure 
that. It was only a year ago that I was the slave of imagination and 

jealous. If a man found fault with me for doing something quite harmless, 
such as showing myself at the window, I would not change my behaviour to 
please him." 2 "Pour m'avoir fait entreV* 

9 February 1 764 143 

talked like Mademoiselle de Zuylen. But I am making great 
advances in prudence. 

MME GEELVINCK. Have you good principles? 

BOSWELL. Yes. When I say, "That is a duty," then I do it. 
Mademoiselle de Zuylen says that I am never bored, but I do get 
bored, though I never show it. 

MME GEELVINCK. Have you any faults? 

BOSWELL. Yes, I sometimes suffer from very bad humour, but 
it doesn't last long. But, Madame, is this not much to my honour? 
Ought I not to be proud that you show so much kindness for me? 
But how can you have so much confidence in a stranger whom you 
have seen only very little? Truly, that flatters me. 

MME GEELVINCK. My sister says she would like to know you 

BOSWELL. I shall do myself the honour to call on her. 

MME GEELVINCK. And Madame d'Amerongen, sister to Mon- 
sieur Mossel, 3 wishes to make your acquaintance. When she gives 
a supper, you shall be invited. 

BOSWELL. Every one here is looking at me with envy. 

MME GEELVINCK. We must speak no more at present. Talk a 
little to Madame d'Amerongen. 

After this you stood with imperial dignity while the grinning 
Dutch were all blue around you; then went to English Society and 
was moderate. This day swear retenue except to Madame, and keep 
strictly to it, and tell her so. ... 


Last night again I sat me up till three, 
Which all the world may by my visage see; 
In my dull head my fretted eyes are sunk, 
And gaunt I look like a Cistercian monk; 
My nerves unstrung and spirits quite depress'd, 
Cold gloomy vapours rob me of my rest. 
3 Not Madame Geelvinck's sister; another Madame d'Amerongen. 

144 9 February 1764 

If for amusement I would read, I tire 
And catch myself a-dozing o'er the fire. 
Yet sure as cock at dawn of morning crows, 
My ev'ning verses I must still compose. 

FRIDAY 10 FEBRUARY. Yesterday you did very well. On 
Wednesday you sat up very late, being all agitated with love and 
fiery imagination. You sprung out of bed, and upon your bare 
knees swore not to speak of yourself, except to Madame Geelvinck, 
for eight days. You forgot this once or twice yesterday. However, 
you'll keep to it more and more. You was hurt by want of rest. Your 
nerves were unhinged and spirits very low. But you kept it to self. 
Be more grave, and you'll support it with manly dignity. You must 
not tire at Brown's. All the world would seem insipid to each other 
after dining a number of months together. But you're at Utrecht 
to improve. So keep on. Sometimes you may fast or go to Plaats 

for a week At night be soft, polite, and guarded, and be gentle 

with Veuve. Swear not to mention it. Be slow, and see if it lasts. 

[10 FEBRUARY. FRENCH THEME] ... I have been out this 
morning, and I am going to tell you why. I went to see the Heredi- 
tary Prince of Brunswick pass with the Princess Royal of England, 
his wife. 4 Yesterday evening I saw them pass, too, but it was so late 
that I could not see their Highnesses, although there were torches 
enough. It is very seldom that one sees a parade at Utrecht; for that 
reason a great crowd had assembled at St. Catherine's Gate to see 
their Highnesses disembark and enter their carriages. 5 A great 

4 "Hereditary Prince" (translating German Erbprinz) means "heir to the 
reigning prince," who in this case was the Duke of Brunswick- Wolf enbiittel. 
Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand succeeded his father as Duke in 1780. In 1792, be- 
cause of his reputation for liberality and benevolence, he was offered the 
supreme command of the French Revolutionary Army, but refused, and in- 
stead commanded the opposed Prussian forces. He was mortally wounded at 
Auerstedt, 1806; his son and successor, Friedrich Wilhelm, was killed at 
Quatre Bras. Karl Wilhelm's Princess was Augusta, eldest sister of George 
III; they had been married in London on 16 January. 

5 They had come by water. 

io February 1764 145 

many people, including even people of high fashion, had been 
waiting several hours. Most of them were on foot, but some who 
had better sense and more money had carriages, in which they had 
sat quietly protected from the cold. They had good f ootwarmers and 
perhaps something to eat, with a bottle of good wine. So they 
nourished their bodies and chatted very happily. But we had a 
clash between some of our people of distinction. The Grand Bailiff 
had ordered the dienders (that is, the police of the city) to place 
themselves on the bank of the canal to open a way for their High- 
nesses and prevent the crowd from pressing upon them. The officer 
in command of the troops came with a detachment of carabineers 
and ordered these silly dienders driven away. The Grand Bailiff was 
violently enraged at this, and hurled insults at the officer. The 
soldier, however, was a man of resolution; and placing his hand on 
his sword, said, "Sir, I do not wish to hear any more of your out- 
rageous remarks." The Count of Nassau, who showed himself no 
better than a puppet, then quieted down, but insisted that the 
commanding officer of the garrison should arrest the officer 
who had driven away his worshipful dienders. The commanding 
officer would not engage in the business, and the Grand Bailiff 
threatened to write to The Hague. 

Since I wrote the last page, I have seen one of the nobles of 
Utrecht, who has told me that the commanding officer of the gar- 
rison has followed the orders of the Grand Bailiff, and has actually 
arrested the offending officer. . . . 

SATURDAY ii FEBRUARY. Yesterday you saw Prince and 
Princess pass. You was still cold and bad, really distemper of body. 
You told Brown you never would say where you dined, that he 
might not know when you fasted. Let this be observed. A message 
to dine with Monsieur d'Amerongen set you a-going. You dressed 
neat. At dinner you was gloomy, but kept your post and grew very- 
cheerful, though still on guard, and spoke French and Dutch, and 
was temperate. You are growing firm. Amerongen, worthy man, 
said, "I invite you to our dinner, as you see, 6 to show that we shall 
6 "Comme vous le voyez." 

146 ii February 1764 

be happy to see you from time to time." He repeated this as you 
went away. Twill be an excellent house. Cultivate there. You went 
at five and read Greek noble! But you once or twice brought in 
self. Assembly chez Mademoiselle de Zuylen. You are growing 
quite easy; only err in wanting to speak 7 to lady of house at first. 
Madame Amelisweerd said, "You are very romantic and are in 
love with Madame Geelvinck." You said, "I was romantic, and 
everybody is in love with her." Then you told la Veuve what she 
said, and said, "To relieve me now will you come back?" 8 "Yes, 
for at least two months. We must not talk," &c. This was really 
hints. See what she really is. Take care 

SUNDAY 1 2 FEBRUARY. Yesterday you did very well. You had 
dreamt of la Veuve. You brought up a good deal of journal. After 
dinner you talked on Baxter's scheme of invisible spirits, and main- 
tained that it was not an improbable theory. 9 You was retenu and 
much on guard. You said you had been in company every night this 
week. Brown said, "You do very well," Indeed, 'tis true, for 'tis part 
of your plan in coming abroad. At Mademoiselle de Reede's you 
was gay, yet had dignity. La Comtesse talked of white suit and why 
you had got it. You said, "It would puzzle all the academies of 
Europe to give a reason why I had that suit made." This was like 
Slavonic to her. After cards she said, "You talked two hours with 
la Veuve, and then she did not talk with any one yesterday evening. 
If you can secure a prize like that in Holland, you can go home 
(thuis) satisfied." "Yes, Madame, that would certainly be worth a 
concert." 1 "Yes, that would be a concert for the whole of life." "In 
unison, in harmony, I hope." There you triumphed. . . . 

MONDAY 13 FEBRUARY. Yesterday you waited on Grand 
Bailiff after prayers and talked long with him and well. After this, 
be more neat in journal, nor mark little usual accidents. You had 

7 That is, in failing to speak. 8 She was planning to go to The Hague. 

9 Andrew Baxter, a Scotch philosopher who died in 1750, had argued that 

dreams are caused by the action of spiritual beings. 

a Probably with reference to the saying of Henri IV that Paris was worth a 

mass. The long dialogue of 8 February had taken place at a concert: see p. 141. 

13 February 1764 147 

Madame Brown, &c., to pass the evening and sup. The young 
Comte* was with you some time and jumped and sung and played 
tricks and whist; all went well. The supper was elegant. You were 
all gay and in good humour. You sung and played on flute. Yet 
did you retain your decent firmness and hope of pleasing GOD. Nor 
was you buffoon. All was well. After they went, you thought: 
"What! am I yielding thus? Can my firmness not stand against 
love? Is not this a delirium? If Madame Geelvinck was to delay 
answer for two months, would I die with impatience? Yet, would I 
engage for life?" Fie, fie! Till you are serene, you cannot think of 
it as a man. Tell her, "You said to me that you would tell me my 
faults. That is to treat me as a friend. Do you wish me to write to 
my father?" Be gentle and once sure of her. Today fast. Journal; 
partie; study, 

TUESDAY 14 FEBRUARY. Yesterday you got up in good time, 
and was fresh and healthy. You did not attend enough to Trotz. Go 
exact at the hour after this, and force attention. You fasted and 
stayed at home from one to five. You read Voltaire. You wrote 
journal. You had prayers. You renewed resolutions of virtue and 
piety. At the partie you was too merry in saying that Madame 
Roosmalen would vous batter. It seemed strange. 3 They are stupid, 
low, censorious. Be not free with them. Take up, keep your own 
counsel, and show that you're quite independent. You supped ele- 
gant at Mademoiselle de Zuylen's with the General, 4 &c. She said, 
"You write everything down." Have a care. Never speak on that 
subject. Madame was there. how charming! You and she ex- 
changed looks and that was all. This day study firm nor lose 
balance. Retenue at dinner; at Assembly, on great guard. If She is 
there, ask her if you behaved right yesterday. Ask religion. Then 

2 The son of the Grand Bailiff? 

3 Because he should have said vous battre ("beat you"). Batter would prob- 
ably have been heard by accurate speakers of French as bdter, and bdter Vane 
("saddle the ass") carried an indecont meaning. 

4 Belle's uncle, Hendrik Willem Jacob van Tuyll, Lieutenant-General of 

148 14 February 1764 

her life, in confidence. Take care; restrain. Be busy and see. Let not 

Satan tempt you as Cupid 


I thought my time of trial had been o'er, 
And am'rous torments hop'd to feel no more; 
Yet most severely my mistake I find, 
For fiercest love is raging in my mind, 
And like the good Sir Roger I appear 
A charming widow's gallant cavalier. 6 
And dost thou think, Cupid, to enslave 
By thy bewitching wiles a soul so brave? 
As Epictetus firm, I will disdain 
To own thy sharpest darts can give me pain. 

WEDNESDAY 15 FEBRUARY. Receive the pleasure of recollec- 
tion that you did remarkably well yesterday. You walked in clois- 
ters before nine, and renewed good resolutions after sweet medita- 
tion and solemn thought You attended well at Trotz's. You was 
retenu at dinner. All was well. At Assembly you kept close on 
guard, though the mean beings began to joke rudely about la 
Veuve. You was quite reserved. But is it not strange that she was not 
there? You was a little sombre on that account. Tomorrow call on 
her apres diner. She's perhaps trying your patience. If you don't 
see her ere Hague, you'll have time to cool. 'Twill be noble not to 
mention it to mortal but herself. Study harder, three days certain. 
. . . Write to Temple of Veuve. Separate fiery passion. Tip her valet. 
If you persist in this retenue, you'll be quite man of fashion. 'Tis 
easy, too. 

[c. 15 FEBRUARY. DUTCH THEME] It has been thirty years 
since my father studied at Leyden. He studied Dutch with great 
diligence and in a short time had mastered it so well that he was 

5 Sir Roger de Coverley, in the Spectator papers of Addison and Steele, kept 
"himself a bachelor, by reason he was crossed in love by a perverse beautiful 
widow of the next county to him," 

15 February 1764 149 

able to make himself understood. He took lodgings in a Dutch 
home. His landlady was a widow, and had a sister who lived with 
her. The widow was courted by a tailor, but the sister was no friend 
of the lover, which the widow took greatly amiss. One morning at 
four o'clock she waked my father in a state of great excitement. 
"0 Sir," said she, "Sister's dead." "What did you say, Ma'am?" 
answered he. "Is she dead?" "Yes, indeed, Sir," said the landlady. 
"She kept a bottle of brandy in her room every night, and I fear 
that she drank too much." My father got up in alarm and went 
downstairs and found Sister dead for certain; but he had suspi- 
cions that the widow had helped her out of the world when she 
married the tailor immediately afterwards. 

[Received 15 February, Temple to Boswell] 

Trinity Hall [Cambridge] 7 February 1 764 8 
MY DEAR BOSWELL, . . . Have you wept over Germanicus yet, 
or attended at the conference of the philosopher and his pupil? Does 
not the character of Helvidius Priscus rouse your emulation and 
kindle in your young breast the flame of glory? No man but a fool 
or a knave ever read Tacitus without improving both his head and 
heart. His reflections are universally allowed to be as deep, and 
founded as much in a knowledge of human nature, as those of the 
greatest politicians. His love of liberty and virtue is enthusiastic, he 
everywhere censures the bad with boldness and indignation, and 
praises the good with rapture. He paints with the imagination of a 
Raphael, and his style is the abrupt sublime. When shall a Tacitus 
arise amongst us to write a history of a House of Stuart, to damn a 
race of tyrants to eternal infamy? 

6 Misdated by Temple 7 January. But the postmark is 9 February, and Bos- 
well's reply (below, p. 193) shows that he had received no other letter from 
Temple between 6 December 1763 and 23 March 1764. This letter is included 
to illustrate one of the more puzzling aspects of the extremely close friend- 
ship between Boswell and Temple: the diametrical and passionate opposition 
of their political views. 

15 February 1764 

Sidney! 7 thou friend to mankind, thou foe to oppression, thou 
scourge of tyrants and guardian of liberty, citizen, philosopher, 
hero, what can atone for thy sufferings, what expiate thy blood? 
The souls of departed patriots still call aloud for justice on thy 
inhuman murderers. And they shall be revenged; some future his- 
torian shall record your virtues and their crimes. 

Your notions of government surprise me. They are slavish and 
unworthy of an Englishman. All power is derived originally from 
the people, and kings are but the servants of the public. They are 
chosen to govern nations, not for their own private good, but for the 
general good of the governed. If they do their duty, if they show 
themselves the first in virtue and ability as well as in station, they 
will be revered while living and lamented when dead; their fame 
will live for ever in the minds of a grateful people. But if otherwise, 
if they crush the subject race whom kings are born to save, they 
shall be abhorred and punished by their much injured masters; 
they shall live in dishonour and die in infamy; their names shall 
be blotted out of the annals of their country. 

The English government is not a monarchy; it is a mixed re- 
public where the supreme power is equally divided amongst the 
three estates. The executive power of the laws is in the King, the 
power of making laws in the people or their representatives, the 
Lords and Commons. (For I reckon the King's assent as nothing, 
since no king of England, not even the worst of them, ever dared 
to put his negative upon a bill passed by both Houses of Parlia- 
ment.) I am as zealous for prerogative as you, but a king of England 
has no prerogative but to do good by supplying the deficiencies of 
the laws, the most honourable and glorious of all prerogatives, 
which whenever he shall be found again to abuse, I trust there will 
not be wanting other Hampdens and other Sidneys to pull the 
tyrant down and trample him [in] the dust. 

You seem to laugh at a woman attempting to write a history of 

7 Algernon Sidney, English republican leader, executed in 1683 for favouring 
the succession of the Duke of Monmouth. It is thought that he may have 
helped William Penn in devising his Pennsylvanian Constitution. 

15 February 1764 151 

England; and indeed it appears absurd enough, for one would be 
led to expect from such an historian a panegyric on royalty and the 
effeminate pleasures of a court, rather than a hatred of tyrants and 
a just encomium on virtue, frugality, and public spirit. I have read 
Mrs. Macaulay and have been most agreeably disappointed, for I 
find her the very reverse of what I expected. She begins at the acces- 
sion of the Stuart line, and is to conclude with the election of the 
House of Hanover. You say Locke has made you a Christian; read 
his immortal treatise on Government and be no longer a slave. 

Mr. Mason 8 has been here some time; he went to London last 
week. He has published a new edition of his poems, and has left out 
his and the ode on the Duke of Newcastle's installation. The volume 
is dedicated to Lord Holdernesse in a sonnet prefixed. The frontis- 
piece is rather vain; it explains in too full a manner what he 
entitles himself (A.M.) and makes him indeed master of all the 
arts. I spent several evenings with him and Mr. Gray at a coffee- 
house here. He has a dull, heavy look, and a particular cast with his 
eyes, but is very entertaining in company, altogether free from 
affectation, and more affable than Mr. Gray. I did not know he had 
so good preferment in the Church; he has near six hundred a year. 

I long much to hear from you. Pray write to me soon and very 
particularly. Utrecht must be a dreary place at present. It rains 
here almost without intermission. Have you been chaste since you 
left us, or do Dutch women feel it all o'er as ours do, and is human 
nature in that respect everywhere the same? 9 Strange questions 
these, Boswell, but not unnatural ones. Believe me ever, my dear 
friend, yours with the sincerest affection, 


THURSDAY 16 FEBRUARY Temple's letter gave you 

spirits. This day, Civil Law, &c., in good order; two other volumes of 
Voltaire. Retenue more and more. You are now fine. At five, la 

8 William Mason, poet, friend of Gray. Boswell greatly admired his verse 
plays Elfrida and Caractacus, written in imitation of classical models. 
9 1 suppose, "are Dutch women as frail as English?" the implication being 
that Boswell's only hope of chastity was not to have opportunity. 

i g 2 1 6 February 1 764 

Veuve; if not in, tea Rose. You are beginning to calm a little. Take 
care. If you're easy, you'll do more with her, and let it be an elegant 
penchant, and perhaps, &c 

[c. 16 FEBRUARY. DUTCH THEME] (I shall for once try to 
write a half -leaf just as I speak. I shall use no dictionaries, but shall 
introduce only words that come into my head. I must also admit 
French words, because I hear them so much every day in all com- 
panies.) I have been very unfortunate in the article of stockings, 
for they are flimsy and do not last long. I have found many holes in 
them, sometimes when it was less than five minutes to twelve 
o'clock, when I should have been starting for Mynheer Trotz's 
college on Roman Law. Frangois, my servant, can darn the holes 
very capably, and that is convenient. My shoes are excellent. I have 
bought no shoes since I have been in Holland. I brought six pairs 
of shoes from London, most of them Scotch shoes. 

FRIDAY i 7 FEBRUARY. Yesterday you did very well; you was 
truly on guard and had command of yourself. What is strange, you 
already are calm with respect to la Veuve. You see what a little 
absence does. You said that from the Spartan Republic we may see 
as from an experiment what men may be brought to; and though 
we have not need for such excess of hardy virtues, we may mix 

them with our elegant politeness Fast today, or be only maigre 1 

by having two rolls at breakfast. Give poor woman double hire. 2 
Send to Rose: no Greek till tomorrow. Bring up journal, obstinate 
three hours. At Assembly play part like Digges. Be collected. Ask 
[la Veuve about her] religion, ask confidence, ask advice, ask line 
from Hague. Swear silence, yet court la Comtesse with address. 
Mem. constant piety, nor yield to any tyrant passion. 


The great Apostles bid us often fast; 
And think you, Christians, that its use is past? 
Think you no more your bodies to subdue 
And your resolves of virtue to renew? 
1 That is, eat no meat. 2 His cleaning woman? 

17 February 1764 153 

Think you that riot and incessant mirth 

Can fail to chain you grov'ling to the earth? 

For me, whose gen'rous and aspiring mind 

Is now to solemn piety resign'd, 

I shall keep Friday as a holiday, 3 

And as the Church directs me, fast and pray. 

SATURDAY 18 FEBRUARY. Yesterday you did very well. You 
brought up much journal. You fasted; you read prayers; you was 
in sweet, gentle, calm humour. At Assembly you was immoderately 
awkward. Your fine suit embarrassed you. Some of the ladies joked 
you on your sword knot and such trifles, just like Edinburgh lasses. 
They are mean. But you kept ground, being quite retenu. You 
durst not go to Madame Geelvinck for a long time. Your heart was 
torn with love. You played party very absent, and she showed with 
her eyes that you had touched her; yet there's no being sure. 
You asked when she went and returned, confusedly. She said, "I 
am sorry. I am not strict." . . . You yielded too much to your pas- 
sion, for consider: you, who have been so often in these love scrapes, 
have not so much to plead. At any rate, for marriage love must be 
gentle and calm and constant, and not fiery and melancholy. So, at 
any rate, you will do well to bring it to a philosophical tempera- 
ture; and then you are indeed fine fellow, and can take your meas- 
ures lastingly, and keep Hollanders much at distance. But, oh, 
affect not passion and oddity! But confound them by ease and 
cheerfulness. This day a true adventure: call on Grand Bailiff and 
tell him you'd be glad to see the dance; if not in, write neat. 4 Go tell 
her you are devoted to her, she alone knows it; hope she'll be gen- 
erous, and see the event. Ask if any hope and say you can't promise 
yourself; say it boldly and firm; and ask write from Hague 

3 The manuscript has the alternative, "I shall at seasons set apart a day," 
probably to avoid the impropriety of calling a fast a holiday, that term in 
ecclesiastical usage being reserved for feasts. 

4 From the next entry it appears that this was a party for children. Boswell 
knew that Madame Geelvinck would accompany her son there; he wanted 
another chance to talk to her without interruption. 

154 1 9 February 1764 

SUNDAY 19 FEBRUARY. Yesterday you called on Grand 
Bailiff. Not in; very well. You read Greek and then walked in Mall. 
But you had not retenue enough. You talked of love, and how a 
philosopher ought to subdue it. This showed Rose that you was at 
least a little struck. You was too much opened by the fine weather. 
You must keep under arms in the fairest summer days. You walked 
with young Geelvinck. 5 You said, "He is a spark from the sun in 
heaven." ... At four, Bailiff's in fine humour; heart rejoiced to see 
all the young folks; was quite at ease yet not too forward. Had long 
and important conversation with Madame Geelvinck: 

BOSWELL. At what age, &c., did you first truly fall in love? 

MME GEELVINCK. Really! 6 That is certainly being frank. 

BOSWELL. Oh, how happy I am! And since you became a widow, 
have you been in love? 

MME GEELVINCK. No. Really! 6 

BOSWELL. But, Madame, I am very much in love. I adore you. 
Will you make a distinction between Madame Geelvinck and my 
friend, and give me your advice? 

MME GEELVINCK. Yes. But I am truly sorry. I advise you to cure 
your passion. 

BOSWELL. But, Madame, how? 

MME GEELVINCK. You have been in love before? 

BOSWELL. Yes, I have been in love before, but those passions had 
no foundation. I always had the help of reason to cure them. But 
I believe I have never really been in love before now. 

MME GEELVINCK. Oh, fancy that! 

BOSWELL. But, Madame, is it impossible for you to fall in love? 

MME GEELVINCK. I shall never do so. 

BOSWELL. There is more good than bad in love. 

MME GEELVINCK. I am happy as things stand. I am free. I can 
go from one city to another. One ought not to give up a certainty. 

BOSWELL. But, Madame, have you no thought of a pleasure you 
have not yet tasted? Only think how you could begin a new life. 

5 Madame Geelvinck's son, six or seven years old. 6 "Non?" 

ig February 1764 155 

MME GEELVINCK. Really, I am sorry that you are like this; it 

will make you unhappy. I will be your friend. 

BOSWELL. Will you be my friend always, for the whole of your 



BOSWELL. But did you not know that I was in love with you? 

MME GEELVINCK. No, really. I thought it was with Mademoi- 
selle de Zuylen; and I said nothing about it. 7 

BOSWELL. Oh, my dear Madame, what heavenly pleasure I have 
at this moment in looking at you. I am speaking as you told me to 
as though I were alone. I can trust in you; you will not expose me? 

MME GEELVINCK. No, I assure you on my conscience. 

BOSWELL. You believe that I am in love? I swear it to you by all 
the hope I have of happiness in this existence or the other. You 
believe that I am sincere? 

MME GEELVINCK. If you are not, you are horrible. 

BOSWELL. You believe me, then? 

MME GEELVINCK. Yes, I believe you when you say it. 

BOSWELL. But I ought not to despair. One must have a little in- 
dulgence. Oh, if you please, say only that perhaps 

MME GEELVINCK. That would be to behave like a coquette. 

BOSWELL. But say that perhaps , something like that. 

But what do you think on the subject of religion? 

MME GEELVINCK. Have you not the same religion in Scotland 
as we? 

BOSWELL. Yes, but I have found women here who thought them- 
selves wiser than other people, women who did not believe it 

MME GEELVINCK. At any rate, those who have the hope of an- 
other world lose nothing. Those who do not believe it must be in a 
bad way. 

BOSWELL. But do you believe that GOD has given a revelation of 

his will? 


7 Reading as dit ("Je Fa dit point de tout") a word that has been written over 
and could be almost anything after the first two letters. 

156 19 February 1764 

BOSWELL. Oh, I am glad of it. Yes, Madame, you have [in the 
Christian faith] a system conformable to the perfections of GOD, 
confirmed by proofs which are sufficient to comfort us. 

MME GEELVINCK. Yes, and there are mysteries; but although I 
do not understand mathematical problems, am I to deny the truth 
of mathematics? 

BOSWELL. Madame, can you believe that only six months ago I 
was completely heedless, and gave great concern to the most ex- 
cellent of fathers? I changed completely. Have I not made progress? 

MME GEELVINCK [changing the subject]. I would sacrifice my- 
self for my son. 

BOSWELL. That is a delicate sentiment. I could not love you so 
much as I do if I did not- love your child. 

MME GEELVINCK. If I should marry again, my husband could 
not love my son like his own, and perhaps I should not love my 
other children so much. 

BOSWELL. But if you should find a man of whom you can be cer- 
tain that he loves you sincerely, and that through duty and affec- 
tion he would do everything for your son is it not possible to find 
such a man? 

MME GEELVINCK. It is possible. 

BOSWELL. Think, Madame, you will lose half your life. You will 
leave the world without having tasted of love. Will you have the 
generosity to write me only one or two lines from The Hague? That 
will convince me that you are sincerely my friend. 

MME GEELVINCK. Yes, provided that you do not answer. 

BOSWELL. You are afraid that I would say something so tender 
as to touch your pity. But I have permission to write if I am reason- 


BOSWELL. Tell me, everybody is looking at me with envy: is it 
right to be vain? 


BOSWELL. Do you know my address? 
MME GEELVINCK. Yes, chez Bart. 8 
8 The proprietor of the hotel (the Keiserhof ) where Boswell had his rooms. 

ig February 1764 157 

BOSWELL. I am happy now, but when I am alone, I shall think of 
a thousand things I ought to have said. How happy I am to have 
had an opportunity to confess all this to you. It is, I suppose, neces- 
sary for it to remain unknown? 

MME GEELVINCK. Yes, do not tell it to any one. 

BOSWELL. It gives me some relief to have confessed it instead of 
letting it lie in gloomy silence. What must I say to people who ask 
me questions? 

MME GEELVINCK. Oh, you have wit enough to parry such ques- 

BOSWELL. But after you have come back from The Hague, if I 
cannot forget my passion, what will you do? But I must not ask. 
Say only, "We shall see." Are you fickle? 

MME GEELVINCK. No, I do not have that kind of disposition. 

BOSWELL. As for me, I am very fickle, so much so that I am never 
sure of myself; and I assure you, if you were in love with me, I 
should advise you not to be. 

MME GEELVINCK. That is most extraordinary. 

BOSWELL. It is a pity you are so rich, although I am very fond 
of money. 


BOSWELL. But listen. I am not greedy, yet, after religion, my 
chief aim is to uphold a respectable and ancient family of which I 
am the representative, and so 

MME GEELVINCK. I leave my heart with you. 

This was truly an adventure, and you did an immense deal. She 
is delicious but impregnable. You said, "My ambition is roused to 
win a heart that has never been possessed." MME GEELVINCK. "For 
shame! That is like a coquette." BOSWELL. "No. Coquettes have not 
suffered the pangs themselves." . . . This day resume. Be more on 
guard and try to recover easy cheerfulness, nor lose time by any 
black passion. Stand firm. 

MONDAY 20 FEBRUARY. Yesterday you was sick and gloomy, 
as it was the day after you declared your passion and the day before 
Madame goes. Yet you was quite guarded, nor could any mortal 

158 ao February 1764 

discover it. Rose told you of Williamson a Liverpool merchant's 
being crossed in love, and he said that melancholy people affixed 
some particular idea, as love, &c., merely to distemper. That is too 

true You supped at Brown's very splendid, and you sustained 

character. Yet you have not had so severe a conflict at Utrecht. This 
day, get up, go to Porte and see her pass, as that is a Spanish piece 
of gallantry; but conceal yourself, or you're ridiculous. Then think: 
this is spleen expel it. You're miserable with it. 'Tis not, then, 
generous, and it may grow frivolous. Recover clear, firm tone, nor 
allow fretful passions to have habit. You are fortunate your mis- 
tress is your friend and confidant, and you can from time to time 
talk to her. But she'd tire of a whiner. Come, be manly; resolve, and 
be worthy of her, and see if you could be a sensible husband. Expel 
sloth. Speak no more of her. . . . 

TUESDAY 21 FEBRUARY. Yesterday after a sad night of sick- 
ness from stomach disordered, you sprung up before seven, and tak- 
ing dram, went out to St. Catherine Porte, where you made interest 
with honest German carabineer and got into his box and saw 
Madame pass. She looked angelic, and that glimpse was ravishing. 
You then treated sentinel with Geneva. 9 You stood on ramparts and 
saw her disappear. You was quite torn with love. Then you entered 
to fencing. You was very bad all day. Yet you was silent. At 
Madame Nassau's you was cheerful, yet on guard, but affected a 
little gloom. Mem., ill-humour is a crime; combat. Mademoiselle 1 
said you had much bonheur, and thought you content. Keep that 
character. Love has now fairly left you, and behold in how dreary 
a state you was in. At night you was listless and distressed and 
obliged to go drawling to bed. This day study hard; get firm tone; 
go on. Mademoiselle will be your friend. 

[c. 20 FEBRUARY. DUTCH THEME] I go every morning to a 
fencing-master. He is ninety-four years old. His father taught 
William IE, Prince of Orange, to fence. He was an Italian. His 
name was and the name of his son is . 2 He crossed with 

'Gin. l Belle deZuylen. 
Blanks in the manuscript. Boswell later gives the name of his master as Cirx 

2O February 1764 159 

Prince William into England and Ireland, and so did his son. Con- 
sequently this man cannot be less than ninety years old (the son, 
I mean, my master) , and he has assured me that he is ninety-four. 
He was at the famous battle of the Boyne. He was also in Scotland, 
and has travelled in France, Spain, and Italy. It is indeed amazing 
to see the old carle. 3 He is as healthy and spry as a man of thirty, 
and he can fence with all the agility in the world. I can assure you 
that his hand is stronger than mine. We tried it, and he won. 

[c. 20 FEBRUARY. FRENCH THEME] I like much to lie with 
my head very high. I think it is healthy to do so. At home I always 
have a couple of pillows, and if I am in a strange house, the first 
thing I ask is whether I can have a couple of pillows. I ask it with- 
out the least ceremony, whether of gentlemen or of ladies. When I 
was at Laird Heron's in Galloway, I said to the lady of the house, 
"I beg you, Madam, let me have your best bedroom and a couple of 
pillows." She could not grant me my first request, but she saw to 
the second. Likewise, when I was at the Earl of Galloway's, my 
Lord Garlies 4 was so polite as to show me to my bedroom and say, 
"Mr. Boswell, you will have the goodness to mention it if there is 
anything you lack." I walked very softly over and looked at the 
bed. "My Lord," said I, "there is nothing lacking but a couple of 
pillows, and I hope I shall have enough interest to procure them." 
Sometimes I have forgotten to ask for my pillows, or have asked for 
them when it was too late; when the housekeeper had gone to bed 
and had her keys in her pocket carefully placed under her head. In 

or Cirkz, which certainly does not look Italian. But the name of the son may 
have been Hollandized, and Boswell may have heard it wrong. Dr. Breuning 
tells me that in 1740 the Town Council of Utrecht gave permission to one 
Frans Dirxen (i.e., Dirk's son), drum-major of the regiment then occupying 
the garrison, to give lessons in fencing. One suspects that this was BoswelTs 

3 Carle ("fellow") in the original. Boswell kept the Scots spelling, though he 
no doubt meant the Dutch cognate form kerel. 

4 Boswell visited both Patrick Heron at Kirroughtrie and the Earl of Gallo- 
way at Galloway House during the autumn of 1762. Lord Garlies was Lord 
Galloway's eldest son. 

20 February 1764 
such a case I have been extremely embarrassed. I have been at my 
wits' end. However, I have always found some expedient. I have 
sometimes put my clothes and sometimes a cushion in place of the 
pillows. I would rather use a stone than sleep without having my 
head well raised. It is said that to hold the head high is a sign of 
pride; and perhaps you will accuse me of hauteur even when I 
sleep. . . . 

WEDNESDAY 22 FEBRUARY. Yesterday you was lethargic and 
still hippish 5 and gaunt, but you stood ground and played whist 
not amiss at Madame Lockhorst's. That's all for journal. You are 
really not well at present. Some course must be taken, or you must 
wait with patience. You are weak, relaxed, insipid, and gloomy. 
These trials you laid account 7 to meet with. You stand them and are 
silent. That is truly noble, and will yield you solid pride yet. So 
have patience as not to be uneasy to others. This day fencing, or 
stay in. Write for Society. You've had too many metaphysical sub- 
jects. Complain not of evils which you can help. Poverty a great 
[evil]; used as a phrase: "Poor devil." 8 Force activity and drive 
off this gloom. Sit not scorched o'er the fire. Be silent, and see some 
time hence how your heart is. 

[23 February, opening paragraphs of Boswell's French discourse, 
given before the Literary Society at Utrecht] 

Since I have had the honour to be a member of this learned So- 
ciety, we have concerned ourselves mainly with lofty speculations 
of metaphysics or subtle refinements of morality. We have heard 
certain of our members present specimens of rich imagination and 
penetrating judgment. I say "imagination," because in subjects so 
elevated that we hardly have faculties for comprehending them 
(or at least where we find very few propositions substantiated by 

5 Depressed. The word is formed from hyp(ochondria) . 

6 Belle de Zuylen's aunt and godmother. 7 "You expected"; a Scotticism. 

8 This and the preceding two sentences are notes for his address, a portion of 
which is printed after this entry. 

23 February 1764 161 

"data," as they say) in such subjects, we owe a great deal to the 
liveliness of our minds, which aid us by making handsome fictions 
where realities desert us. Forgive me, gentlemen, if I appear to treat 
our important speculations too airily. Far from holding them in 
scorn, I respect them after my fashion, superstitiously, with a devo- 
tion like that which is born of ignorance. I never find myself 
prouder of my existence than when I walk with my head swathed 
in the solemn cloud of abstraction. This evening, however, I wish to 
qheer us up a little by proposing a subject into which there will 
enter nothing but common sense and observation. 

We complain a great deal of the evils of life, but we ought to 
consider how many of these ills can be prevented by human atten- 
tion and care. Poverty is perhaps the evil that we fear the most. 
This has even passed into a proverb. When we wish to speak of a 
man in a pitiful plight, we use the expression, "Poor man." But 
doubtless it is through some fault in political science that poverty 
exists in society. Let us trace briefly how it comes about 

THURSDAY 23 FEBRUARY. Yesterday you did very well. You 
was still gloomy and indisposed in health. But you was resolute and 
went on. You was, however, a little lax with Rose in joking in a sort 
of desultory, imperfect way, and too feeble with Brown in being 
uneasy for fear your discourse should not be liked, and pleased 
when he liked it. Mean is he who thus depends on others. Reverence 
GOD, and have a standard in your own mind. At night you had Rose 
and Hungarians. 9 They talked fine Latin. It was wild and romantic 
with old Scythians, and your spirits brightened, yet temperate. 
Every Saturday they're to be with you 

FRIDAY 24 FEBRUARY. Yesterday you was still gloomy and 
unhealthy. But you stood firm: was retenu. Polished your discourse, 

9 "The number of students, one year with another, is seven or eight hundred 
in each of the universities of Leyden and Utrecht.... They all live ir. 
private lodgings, except thirty or forty Poles and Hungarians, who have a 
college in each of the universities, where they are maintained at the public 
expense, which are the only endowed foundations here" (Description of 
Holland, 1743, p. 337). 

162 24 February 1764 

read it well, and did your duty fully at Society. What more would 
you have? You must suffer. Cursory chat of Des Essar on la Veuve 
her fifty admirers, her husband having not behaved well to her 
seized your attention. However, you are really prudent. After 
Society you cured dire gloom merely by dancing. You see how 
corporeal. ... No fast, as twice last week, . . . 

[c. 24 FEBRUARY. FRENCH THEME] 1 ...When I enter an 
assembly, I appear to be a young man of family on my travels, 
elegantly dressed in scarlet and gold. I am seen to chat pleasantly 
with the ladies of wit and beauty; I am seen to play a game of cards 
and to be as fashionable and as frivolous as the rest. No doubt, 
therefore, it would seem safe in talking to me to make fun of the 
author of a dictionary as being a heavy man; it might even be sup- 
posed that in talking thus one would be paying a compliment to a 
man of vivacity, and that he would be charmed to hear the most 
piquant witticisms directed against a man so different from him- 
self. It might seem that in abusing the blockhead one would be 
praising the man of genius. But how taken in they are when they 
learn that the blockhead and the man of genius are one and the 
same! How surprised they are when they learn that I am writing a 
dictionary myself! 

... It is a Scots dictionary. You must know, gentlemen, that 
Great Britain was peopled by the Gauls, the same people who came 
from Scythia and occupied a part of France, and then passed into 

Ireland and Britain Some centuries later, the barbarians of 

Scandinavia, especially the Saxons, invaded Great Britain, and 
having been victorious, the true ancient Britons were driven from 
the most fertile parts of the country and established themselves in 
the country of Wales, the neighbouring country of Cornwall, and 
the islands and mountains of the West and North of Scotland. The 

a The placing of this long but important section of the French themes at this 
point is somewhat arbitrary, for though the series (some thirty pages in all) 
devoted to dictionaries, and especially to Boswell's proposed Scots dictionary, 
must have been begun about this time, it obviously was not all written at a 

24 February 1764 163 

Saxons, the Danes, and the Normans spread over the rest of the 
kingdom. Thus the inhabitants of England and of the Lowlands of 
Scotland were all the same. 

Consequently the language was the same in South as in North 
Britain. But as it was made up of a variety of dialects, of which the 
Saxon was the chief, there were bound to be some differences: some 
words were kept in one district which were not kept in another. Ac- 
cording to the proportion of Danes, of Saxons, or of Normans, a 
proportion of their dialects was bound to be preserved. Which of 
these peoples was most numerous in the migrations into Scotland, 
I cannot determine; but doubtless there was a difference of num- 
ber. In this way can be traced the origin of some of the differences 
between the tongues of the two districts of Great Britain. Add 
thereto the imperceptible corruptions which were introduced by 
time, and we shall see another very fertile source of variation. Both 
divisions of the people had their peculiar corruptions, and thus 
drew away little by little from each other. The ancient Britons 
spoke Old Celtic. But the different divisions of even that people 
have acquired a diversity of dialects. The Welsh and the Scots 
Highlanders often differ in their manner of speaking. It is true that 
it is principally in pronunciation, but by degrees that makes a great 
difference. A century after such changes, when the words in ques- 
tion are not only pronounced but spelled differently, it is difficult 
to see that they are actually the same. The majority of people never 
see it. It is known only to those who apply themselves to the study 
of antiquities and of orthography, or rather of etymology. 

It is thus that has arisen the greatest difference between Eng- 
lish and Scots. Half the words are changed only a little, but the re- 
sult of that is that a Scot is often not understood in England. I do 
not know the reason for it, but it is a matter of observation that al- 
though an Englishman often does not understand a Scot, it is rare 
that a Scot has trouble in understanding what an Englishman says: 
and certainly Sawney has an advantage in that. It is ridiculous to 
give as the reason for it that a Scot is quicker than an Englishman 
and consequently cleverer in understanding everything. It is 

164 2 4 February 1764 

equally ridiculous to say that English is so musical that it charms 
the ears and lures men to understand it, while Scots shocks and dis- 
gusts by its harshness. I agree that English is much more agreeable 
than Scots, but I do not find that an acceptable solution for what 
we are trying to expound. The true reason for it is that books and 
public discourse in Scotland are in the English tongue. 

I do not know what influence Celtic could have had on these 
composite languages of Great Britain. That would depend on the 
communication between the ancient and the new Britons. It is also 
a question whether Celtic has mixed more with the English lan- 
guage or the Scottish. I am inclined to think that one would find 
more of it in Scots. There was more communication between the 
inhabitants of the Lowlands and the Highlands in Scotland than 
there was between the English and the Welsh. . . . 

There are several English dictionaries, especially the excellent 
work of Mr. Johnson; and doubtless to have such a work is a thing 
of great importance, for English in time will become the universal 
language of our isle. We have not a single Scots dictionary. Really, 
that is amazing. I believe there is not another language in Europe 
(or dialect, to use that terminology they are all dialects) of which 
there is not some sort of lexicon. Allan Ramsay, a Scottish poet who 
has written some very pretty things in his mother-tongue, has 
given us a little glossary in which he has explained some words, 
but very few of them. Nor has he made the least attempt to give 
etymologies. There was an excellent reason for it: he could not. He 
had been bred a wig-maker, and for some years followed his trade 
in Edinburgh. His genius soon showed itself in little verses and 
rude ballads. Afterwards he read translations of the ancient poets 
and began to cultivate his mind, and finally he became a poet of 
real merit in several kinds of composition. He did not know any 
foreign language, and so was incapable of making a dictionary of 
his own. 

We have several Scots authors, properly so called: that is, au- 
thors who have written in the Scots language. We have the histories 
of Knox and Calderwood; the lives of the authors and warriors of 

24 February 1764 165 

Scotland by Abercrombie; and several treatises in law, in antiq- 
uities, and in religion. But our most esteemed works are those of 
our poets, among whom must be mentioned King James V, Bellen- 
den, Ramsay the Elder and Ramsay Junior, besides several others 
who have written detached pieces. In the works of these poets may 
be found the finest strokes of genius of every sort. 2 

People in England do not know how much wit there is in 
Scottish authors. It must be confessed that these authors make only 
a very small number. All the same, it is well worth while to pre- 
serve them. The Scottish language is being lost every day, and in a 
short time will become quite unintelligible. Some words perhaps 
will be retained in our statutes and in our popular songs. To me, 
who have the true patriotic soul of an old Scotsman, that would 
seem a pity. It is for that reason that I have undertaken to make a 
dictionary of our tongue, through which one will always have the 
means of learning it like any other dead language. I confess that I 
look forward some centuries from now and see with romantic 
pleasure the Scots of that day applying themselves to the study of 
their ancient tongue as to Greek or Latin, and considering them- 
selves much indebted to the work of Old Boswell, who has made it 
possible for them to taste the excellent works of their brave, happy, 
and venerable ancestors. . . . 

Here is the plan which I propose to follow in compiling this 
work. I shall not put into it a single word which is recognized as 
English; and to determine that, I shall not count as English any 

2 Boswell's knowledge of Scots literature apparently did not extend back of 
the end of the sixteenth century, and consequently he misses the authors who 
would now be considered the most important: Barbour, King James I, Henry- 
son, Dunbar, and Sir David Lindsay. John Bellenden (known in the main for 
prose translations from the Lathi) seems an odd representative of the glories 
of Scottish verse. Allan Ramsay's son, also Allan Ramsay, was a distinguished 
portrait painter and wrote a good deal of occasional verse, but little of it was 
ever published, and none of the pieces that survive is of high quality. Even for 
the authors he names, it is probable that Boswell is affecting more knowledge 
than he really had, and that he knew little more of Scots verse than its 
popular songs. 

166 2 4 February 1764 

word which has not been ratified by the authority of Mr. Johnson. 
To qualify myself to trace the etymologies, I am applying myself 
to the European languages, and I hope to acquire a sufficient 
knowledge of them. But I shall not stop there. I shall not trust to 
my own labours alone. I shall establish a literary correspondence 
with scholars in different countries. I shall send them from time to 
time lists of words, and they will send them back to me with con- 
jectures on their origins. Besides that, I have another idea which is 
perhaps a bit fantastic, but which nevertheless may be practical. I 
am thinking of publishing in a Scottish newspaper similar lists of 
words, begging all those who can give derivations to send them to 
my publisher. In that way I should have countless conjectures, 
from which I could choose those which appeared to me the most 
ingenious and plausible. Those who granted me the favour would 
have to send their conjectures anonymously; in that way I should 
be at full liberty to choose without partiality; and I hope that no 
one would be offended if his derivations were not accepted. In tak- 
ing this precaution, I should be following in some sort the famous 
printer Henry Stephanus, who posted in public places the proofs 
of his New Testament, sheet by sheet, and offered a reward of two 
pennies for each error that should be discovered. By that means he 
gave us an edition so correct that it contains only one misprint, and 
that in the introduction. I myself do not intend to offer prizes, for 
it is not a question of mechanical perfection concerning which the 
vulgar can judge. But by doing as I have just described, I can have 
the general assistance of my learned countrymen. 

I shall make a careful collection of dictionaries in all languages. 
I shall consult them all, and I shall enter in my dictionary all the 
words which have any resemblance to the Scots words: that is, 
which not only resemble them but have the same meaning or prac- 
tically the same, either literally or figuratively. In this way we 
shall get a general view of the connection between languages so far 
as Scots provides a basis of comparison. I shall not debate the origin 
of language. . . . 

As for the languages of the present day, there are doubtless 

24 February 1764 167 

some which have not the least connection with the others. The 
Hungarian language is entirely different from the other European 
tongues. It has almost no borrowed words. I have had an oppor- 
tunity to hear it spoken by Hungarians themselves, some of whom 
come to study at Utrecht. They pride themselves greatly on their 
language, and maintain that it has no connection even with Sla- 
vonic. The Chinese language is entirely unique. In a word, there 
is without doubt a diversity of tongues in the world, a diversity that 
cannot be denied, though no reason can be given for it. ... 

To return to my dictionary. ... As Mr. Johnson has already 
given us full definitions of the English words, I should give only 
the bare English word for a Scots one, and should send my readers 
to Mr. Johnson's Dictionary to get the definitions. Consequently 
my task will not be nearly so great as if I had followed Mr. John- 
son's method. Excuse me, I am in error. I should not have more 
work, for I could copy his definitions exactly; but the work of print- 
ing will not be so great, for my dictionary will be a third the size of 
his. 3 There are however several Scots words for which there are no 
English equivalents. There are wprds to express usages and cus- 
toms peculiar to our country; and also original words, to express the 
complete sense of which the English have no terms. And there is 
my plan for a Scots dictionary. Courage! 

The Scots dictionary of which I have been speaking at such 
length ought certainly to be an excellent work. Well and good. But 
when shall we have it? As to that, gentlemen, I cannot give you any 
reply that will be very illuminating. For the fact is that I do not 
know myself how much time I shall take to compile it. I have many 
other things to do which are more important to me and which I am 
resolved not to neglect. My dictionary will be merely the task of 
my leisure hours. Since I wish very much to do a thorough piece of 
work, I shall not hurry. I shall go quietly on, with all the help I 
can get, and I hope that in time you will see it done very satisf ac- 

8 Boswell appears to have lost the thread of his argument, and to have written 
this sentence as though the preceding had said that if he included definitions, 
his labour would be greater than Johnson's. 

!68 24 February 1764 

torily. My indolence shudders when the idea of so laborious a work 
presents itself, but consoles itself when it considers that the labour 
will be shared, and that it will be necessary to do only small bits 
of it at a time. In this way horror is dissipated, my mind is calmed, 
and I am at peace. Without having peace of mind one cannot ac- 
complish much. It is true that the poet says Facit indignatio versus* 
But I doubt that indignatio will help us in a long work. 

I have spoken so much of my dictionary that you must surely be 
bored with it I am dreadfully bored with it myself. Let us drop the 
subject 5 


If you do love me, my enchanting fair, 
Pray let me have a tender Scottish air. 
Sing of some faithful swain or warrior bold 
Whose names were famous in the days of old. 
Sing me such music, which when Rizzio play'd, 
The beauteous Mary's sorrows were allay'd. 
Ah, let your voice be moderate and slow 
When you express the solemn notes of woe, 
Nor rudely spoil by an affected trill 
The sweet and simple Lass of Patie's mill. 

SATURDAY 25 FEBRUARY. Yesterday you did very well. You 
was sensible, prudent, retenu. You stood gloom; recollected how 
many, many years you have been attacked by it, and in what a 
variety of ways, and resolved in silent pride to maintain your dig- 
nity, conscious that the Quakers' Meeting, Donaldson the painter, 
and all other objects just remain the same. (These are mentioned 

4 "Indignation gives birth to verses" (Juvenal, Satires, i. 79). 

5 Boswell continued to refer to this great project for many years, and in 1769 
showed Johnson a specimen of it, but he never brought it to completion. The 
manuscript (which probably was not very extensive) was sold for sixteen 
shillings in the sale of the library of his son James in 1825, and has not been 
reported since. 6 An old Scots air, the lyric by Allan Ramsay. 

25 February 1764 169 

because they please by an association.) 7 At Assembly you was fine 
with Mademoiselle de Zuylen. She was amiable. She said you 
might see her at home at least once a week. You said pride after a 
certain pitch became affable; and that emulation was necessary, 
for as you went up hill, you saw those before you. She said la Veuve 
had no passion, and often ill humour. This girl trusts you; like her. 
You heard that assemblies will end in March. Bravo! You'll study. 
. . . Shun marriage. Today, honey for cold. 

SUNDAY 26 FEBRUARY. Yesterday you did very well, al- 
though distressed with severe cold. In the morning you had fervent 
devotion, saying, "0 great and beneficent Being, let me not have a 
slavish dread of thee, but an exalted respect; and at last I will be 
happy." You was a little too merry after dinner, and in a bizarre 
way. Shun always this. At Madame Lockhorst's you made Madame 
de Nassau talk. She said you'd be arrete? You said, " Twould be 
hard in this world, where there are so many fine women, if a man 
cannot adore and escape too." The little Amerongen said, "He is in 
love with my aunt." 9 This day be on guard; go on. You must hold 
at duty of both churches, or perhaps indulge one Sunday. At any 
rate, sup not at Brown's. Check these regular whims 

MONDAY 27 FEBRUARY. Yesterday you stayed in all fore- 
noon, thus showing that you act not from whim but reason. You 
brought up much journal. You had dreadful cold. Rose said wars 

7 "I can find benefit from religious assemblies of various denominations of 
Christians; least indeed from those of Presbyterians. But my mind is disposed 
to quiet, mild communication with heaven in a Quaker meeting, as it is 
stirred and elevated in a church where there is solemn external worship" 
(Boswell's Journal, 12 September 1777). The Quakers' Meeting was probably 
pleasantly associated with his mother, "a lady of distinguished piety," who 
seems to have taken him there as a child. In his journal for 16 December 1775 
he refers to a memorable scene in the year 1759 at Prestonfield, the pleasant 
country house of his elderly friend, Sir Alexander Dick, at which Donaldson 
the painter had been present. 

8 "Arrested" (in his mental and moral development if he married Madame 
Geelvinck) . 

9 Joost, Baron Taets van Amerongen, Madame Geelvinck's nephew, was at 
this time not more than three years old. 

27 February 1 764 
were going out, from their mildness nowadays. . . . You went 
timeously 1 to bed. This day, hard study; attend Trotz. Mem. Father, 

more and more manly behaviour Home at five and have much 


TUESDAY 28 FEBRUARY. Yesterday you began your new 
course of retenue to accustom yourself to constant useful conversa- 
tion, with mild and grave dignity, and only to relax at times to 
merriment This character it is not difficult to form. Only lay re- 
straint for a little at first. You see it is not observed when you do 

it This day rouse. Cold is better; indulge it no more, lest you 

hurt nerves and fall into old-womanish complaining. Fix hours 
better and labour harder. Make the most of Brown: Dutch and 
geography. But above all, think, and get manly ideas. You will be 
pretty gentleman. Write Madame Geelvinck. If you are always 
employed, you can never fall back to idle vanity as with Eglinton. 

[c. 28 FEBRUARY. DUTCH THEME] This is the worst winter 
that has been seen in Holland for many years. We have had 
scarcely any frost, which is surely the best winter weather in this 
land. Whenever it freezes hard, so that the canals are covered with 
good ice, the Dutchmen are happy; then everybody goes out to 
skate. But this winter we have had nothing at all but rain and wind 
and thick fogs; weather indeed so unhealthy that a foreigner can- 
not stand it. 2 I myself have had a bad cold for ten days. I had a 
severe headache, but I am so regular that I have not been absent a 
day from my college. Mynheer Trotz also had a cold, yet he gave 
his lectures, and I thought that it would be highly scandalous if the 
student should indulge himself more than the professor, who is 
much older 

Mynheer Trotz is certainly a most unusual man. He is a Prus- 
sian. But he has been many years in the Seven Provinces, first at 
Franeker in Friesland, then at Utrecht, having been professor of 
law in both places. He is an excellent jurist, having a profound 
knowledge of Roman and Dutch law, and having also much knowl- 

1 Betimes, early. A Scotticism. 

2 This explains why Boswell has made no mention of skating. 

28 February 1764 171 

edge of history and philosophy. He is very lively and mingles 
many entertaining stories with his lessons. He has a great desire to 
learn English. He began it some years ago, but he neglected it. 
However, he has begun it again. Mr. Rose is his teacher, and goes 
to him twice a week, and really it is amazing to see with what 
attention and spirit the old professor can read. 

WEDNESDAY 29 FEBRUARY. Yesterday you dozed in bed till 
near ten, having been disturbed with dismal dreams by reason of 
your severe cold. You was indolent and could do nothing with 
spirit. Yet you stood calm and firm, and was master of yourself. 
You dined with Monsieur de Zuylen. The invitation gave a turn to 
your spirits. You was grave yet agreeable, and had address. You 
dined too full and was clogged. This is a sure effect of a known 
cause; so determine obstinate temperance so as never to take more 
than you can. . . 

WEDNESDAY 29 FEBRUARY. This day, for the first time since 
25 September 1763, 1 wrote no lines, having kept my bed with a 

THURSDAY i MARCH. Yesterday you lay abed all day at ease 
to cure cold; read three hours Voltaire, and was tranquil. Raro 
fiat 3 

[Received c. i March, Trotz to Boswell] 4 

MY HONOURED FRIEND: I am very sick of the kold and my 
Doctor have counselleth to keep for my 5 these day en morning, 
because my health; but there is no great danger. Nevertheless i 
must pardon me for this time, we shall bi diligent into the follow- 
ing week. I wish jou heartily a good dinner, being your most 

f aithfull Friend, 


My Compliment to Maester Brouwn en us Friend my Teacher. 
Condonabis, Amice, balbutienti; at juvat tentasse et sufficit ridendi 

3 "Let it happen seldom." 

* Except for some slight additions to the punctuation, this letter is printed 

just as the learned professor wrote it. 5 "To restrain myself," "to stay in." 

1 March 1764 

materiam vobis praebeaxn. Valete. Venam mihi secuerunt, hinc 
calamum vix dirigere valeo. 6 

FRIDAY 2 MARCH. Yesterday you got up better. You was 
however still distressed, and at Brown's was weakish and joked on 
I 'amour. You forget that at those weak seasons, care is to be taken 
to preserve chain of uniformity. At Society you had excellent dis- 
pute on natural and moral causes to make national character. This 
day, French and Dutch versions; home at five, and journal all 
night. No more indulgence vapours. Forget not that in all reli- 
gions and systems, firmness of man is noble. 

SATURDAY 3 MARCH. Yesterday you lay too long. This cold 
is made an excuse for laziness. You finished Campbell and had 
clear proof for Christian miracles. 7 At dinner you was very well 
and read Dutch and Greek well. But talked too long with Rose, and 
was too indolent. Mem., now is the time to acquire habits for all 
your life; you're always ready to plead some indisposition. But 
even then be firm. . . . 

SUNDAY 4 MARCH. Yesterday your cold was bad, and you was 
miserably gloomy. You walked with Rose in the sun, who said an 
infidel must be uneasy, for he is always asking questions on 
religion. After dinner you said 'twas hard that in this world of woe 
your greatest quantum of happiness had been enjoyed in vice. This 
was very rash. Brown said, "What! have you been happier in vice 
than in virtue? BOSWELL. "Yes." BROWN. "Come, you've got the 
cold; your humours are thick; you're wearying." He said it without 
impertinence. At night you had Hungarian, learned Tokay (mark 
it) , and grew well. 8 Your dreams last night were sad. . . . 

6 "Friend, you will pardon one who lisps; but there is pleasure in having 
tried, and it will suffice if I furnish you matter for laughter. Farewell. They 
have blooded me, so that I am scarcely able to guide a pen." 

7 George Campbell, D.D., Principal of Marischal College, Aberdeen, had 
published A Dissertation on Miracles in 1762. 

8 "I pretend to a little judgment in this wine, because during a winter that I 
lived at Utrecht, I was a member of a club of Hungarians, one of whom had 
a vineyard in Tokay, and used to entertain us with it very liberally." (A 

4 March 1764 173 

[Received c. 4 March, Trotz to Boswell] 9 

Sunday 4 Marsch 1 764 

to receive of your hand one agreable letter, full of civilitie and af- 
fection. But, do you believe, my dear Friend, that any body of mine 
scholars have the same meinds, for the study as Mr. Boswell? No, 
no, there is a certain sort of lazi fellows, called on the Dutsh-men: 
Luy-Zakken 1 or belli homines, 2 which run rather into the Coffee- 
houses or publick meeting hauses to hear news and read the Gazes. 
Truly, they buried themselves in much fruitless conversation. But 
let us leave that odious People. Concerning my Health i was let 
blood yesterday, and since i find myself much better, i thank GOD. 
Therefore i shall morrow morning, or monday mine lectures begin 
again. My Doctor a wise and experient Man, Maester Woerdman, 
have it permit: for jou knowst well, wath the Lawyer say in t. 26 D. 
de oper. libert. Medicus imperat. 3 Now my Friend, you are to much 
obliging towards my: for you force me to be uncivil and trouble- 
some to you. Surely you kindlet and encouraget me, like a Socrates 
at the virtue, to the frequent exercise of the English tongue, whom i 
esteem and love. In earnst, i schould desire, if you would do me the 
favour, to explain me de faults, they i have made, whyle i self sev- 
eral have found, it might be to my advantage. Fare well, till i have 
the honnour to see you again I am with respect Your ever obliged 
and f aithf ull Friend, 


deleted passage in BoswelTs autograph manuscript of An Account of Corsica. 
He later gives the name of this Hungarian as Janosi.) 

9 Printed without any editorial interference except for the addition of one or 
two marks of punctuation. 

1 Literally, "lazy sacks." 

2 "Polite men," "men of the world." It is not impossible that Trotz intended a 
pun with English "belly." 

3 "Title 26 of the Digest, concerning the power of a physician to command his 
freemen to stop practising medicine." The allusion seems very far-fetched. 

174 4 March 1764 

My Compliments to all our Friends Mr. Brouwn and my In- 
structor Mr. N. N. 4 

MONDAY 5 MARCH. Yesterday you was gloomy but better. 
Rose drank coffee with you, and you related to him your having 
shaved. 5 This was wrong. Never repeat past follies but to very inti- 
mate friends. You talked of Smith's Sympathy, 6 and said that when 
passion rose high, you had a faculty in your own mind called 
Reason; you appeal to that. You find he disapproves; you dare not 
act. This is all within yourself. If you act, he condemns you. There 
is no occasion for a far-fetched appeal to others, which at best is but 
vague; and if others are bad, must be bad. Envy cannot be ac- 
counted for on Smith's principles. Think on this. At night you grew 
easy and renewed resolves of patience and firmness. This day . . . 
finish Johnson's letter. 

TUESDAY 6 MARCH. Yesterday you got up vigorous and well, 
your cold gone and health and joy bounding through your frame. 
Mem. schellings to the fencing master. . . . You was cheerful at 

dinner. After it you reproved Brown for indecent talking You 

walked long with Rose, and talked on the unalterable obligations of 
virtue, and pushed them well; next on the Christian morals, and on 

the precepts being temporary, otherwise hard to be understood 

On the whole, it was an idle day, This day . . . improve in memory. 
You resume foreign beau monde. Be prudent; mem. Father 

WEDNESDAY ^ MARCH. Yesterday you did very well. You 
thought that Smith's system was running mankind, melting them, 
into one mass in the crucible of Sympathy. Whereas they are sep- 
arate beings, and 'tis their duty as rational beings to approach near 
to each other. You are to give an analysis of Smith's book. 'Twill be 
fine. Write out sketch of Female Scribbler: old, surly squire; weak, 
ignorant mother; light, trifling lover whom she does not care for; 

<"Mr. Nomen Nescio" ("Mr. I-donVknow-his-name"), i.e., Mr. Rose. It is 
rather odd that Trotz had not learned his instructor's name. 5 See p. 1 14. 
Boswell is reading TheTheory of Moral Sentiments (1759) by Adam Smith, 
better known later as the author of The Wealth of Nations. Smith had been 
his teacher in Glasgow, 1759-1760. 

7 March 1764 175 

foolish maid; heavy, covetous bookseller; generous, sensible lover, 
&c. 7 You went at three and heard Professor Trotz. You was well and 
firm and reserved at Assembly. Pray speak not of self. Be good to 
Rose while here. Write short and genteel to Sommelsdyck, Madame 
Spaen. 8 

THURSDAY 8 MARCH, Yesterday you did very well. Having 
finished Xenophon, you began Plutarch. You drank tea with 
Madame Brown, with Madame Sichterman, whom you found 
agreeable, and was pleased to see the lady to whom Sir David has 
poured forth his plaints. You mentioned him. But she waived the 
nice subject. At eight you was at Zelide's concert, fine, really 
charmed and soothed; she, sweet and mild. You're to go every 
Wednesday. This day at ... four, Zelide; ask if you may show 

Portrait to Rose; 9 if so, make him copy it. Journal by degrees 

No neutral time. I beseech you, gain calm behaviour like Temple, 
nor be uneasy at its not appearing. 

[Received 8 March, Andrew Erskine to Boswell] 

Edinburgh, 16 February 1764 

MY DEAR BOSWELL, Have you forgot me, or have I forgot you? 
The latter I can assure you is not the case; I'm afraid the former is. 
You took so ill my not writing to you before you left London that 
when you went abroad you did not so much as tell me where you 
was going. Till I met your friend Johnston about a month ago in 
this place, I was ignorant whether France or Japan, Italy or Peru 
contained the body of James Boswell, Esq. How could you use so 
barbarously a man whose only crime was being in low spirits? My 
spirits, I thank heaven, are now recovered, and I never was so 
happy in my life. 

I will give you a short but substantial account of my life and 

7 Apparently a play or conte, based to some extent on the character of Belle 
de Zuylen. If ever written, it has not yet been recovered. 

8 He is planning in about a month to revisit The Hague, and wishes to prepare 
the way for his arrival. 9 Her character-sketch of herself: see p. 184. 

176 8 March 1764 

adventures since I left you. I came to Edinburgh, where I was in the 
deepest low spirits. I went to the Highlands, where I grew better. I 
went to Kellie, where I relapsed. 1 1 went again to the Highlands, 
where I improved. I returned to Edinburgh, where I am at present, 
perfectly delighted. I bathe every morning, and every morning 
your friend Mr. Rankeillor wishes you saw me go in, I perform the 
operation so wonderfully well. His language is quite soaring when 
he talks of my plunging. 2 

Talking of language, I must here make my apology for writing 
to you in one which by this time you can't possibly understand. I 
had some thoughts of going down to Leith and trying to prevail 
upon a Dutch skipper to translate my English into his own beauti- 
ful lingo, but as I'm just going to begin studying French, that shall 
be my language for the future. I suppose by this time you can talk 
Dutch to a Frenchman and French to a Dutchman, in the same 
manner as when you was in London you spoke Scotch to English- 
men and English to Scotchmen. 

I come now to the most material part of my history, at least to 
you. You may remember two or three years ago I told you of a little 
plot I had contrived for a farce. I wrote it (the farce, I mean) when 
I was in the Highlands the beginning of this winter. Soon after I 
came to town, I enclosed it in a letter to Digges. He was extremely 
pleased with it. I dined with him and Mrs. Bellamy soon after. 3 1 
found them, I think, the most agreeable couple I almost ever saw. 
. . . The farce was first played on Monday the sixth of February to 
a very full house; it was received with more applause than I ex- 
pected. ... The run ... was stopped by Digges's being obliged to 

1 "The Highlands" means the residence of his brother-in-law the Laird of 
Macfarlane on Loch Long; Kellie, the mansion house of his brother, the Earl 
of Kellie, in Fife. 

2 An ominous sentence. In 1793 Erskine, in a fit of depression, filled his 
pockets with stones and drowned himself in the sea. 

3 The famous (or notorious) actress George Anne Bellamy. She and Digges 
were living together. She was the illegitimate daughter of Lord Tyrawley, he 
(by legitimate descent) the grandson of Lord Delawarr. 

8 March 1764 177 

go to London to see his brother, who is just dying. Donaldson was 

my publisher; it sells well 

Pray tell me your plan. What say you to a visit from me at 
Utrecht this summer? Direct to me at Macfarlane's house in the 
Canongate. Lady Betty and Lady Anne remember you. 4 I dined 
with Johnston lately very agreeably. I have got much acquainted 
this winter and I cut up well. 5 Tell me all about yourself, your 
spirits, your designs, &c. Farewell. Yours very affectionately, 


FRIDAY 9 MARCH. Yesterday you rose well; after breakfast 
you received a letter from Johnston with accounts of the death of 
the poor little child. 6 Alas, what is the world? You was distressed 
and sunk. Rose sympathized. You hesitated if to mourn. Rose said 
'twas only external ceremony, and none but yourself knew. You 
was low at dinner; Brown saw it. After dinner you talked of it to 
him. He was sensible and hardy. You drank tea with Zelide. 

Madame well. 7 She sweet, mild, agreeable At night you sat 

late. You was strange. Do so no more. You had letter from Erskine. 

How much altered are you! Answer him grave, yet cheerful 

This night Mademoiselle de Zuylen; bid her be calm, to show you 
if she could be your companion in grief, but only say dead par- 
ent. . . . 8 


Man is, indeed, Job, to trouble born; 
Oft must his bosom with distress be torn. 

* His sisters: Lady Betty was married to Macfarlane. 

5 In the United States the usual figurative meaning of / cut up would be "I 
am boisterously mischievous"; in England, "I leave a (large) fortune." 
Neither meaning seems to fit here. Perhaps merely, "I serve as a satisfactory 
object for severe criticism"? Erskine was notoriously shy and awkward in 

6 His son Charles. See pp. 31 and 124; also BosweWs London Journal, 762- 
1763, 1950. p. 324 n. 6. 7 Madame de Zuylen, Belle's mother. 

8 "Relative." Boswell actually wrote parents. 

178 8 March 1764 

Affliction strange, but, ah, how very keen! 
I weep for him whom I have never seen. 
For in my heart the warm affection dwelt, 
For I a father's tender fondness felt. 
All the firm precepts that the Stoics taught 
Cannot dispel my dreariness of thought. 
Now in the time of serious solemn grief, 
I from religion only find relief. 


Perplexed reas'nings may the best deceive, 

But what we see, we surely may believe. 

Let not wild fancy sceptically range 

And doubt of facts because she finds them strange. 

At the twelfth hour on Wednesday, dreary night! 

Shone at my window a strong glow of light; 

It vanish'd twice, as it had twice been seen, 

And left me musing what this light could mean. 

I can protest that I was broad awake, 

And that my joints with terror did not quake. 9 

SATURDAY 10 MARCH. Yesterday you got up more composed, 
but sickish from late sitting up; never do so again. At dinner you 
was grave yet easy. You was of partie with Zelide at Assembly. You 
told her you was distressed for the death of a friend, and begged to 
see if she could be company to the distressed. She said yes, but she 
soon showed her eternal laughing. You talked to her plainly that 
she did not use her raison: that she would tell the minister, "I don't 

love my children," to shock the poor man You told her she 

never had a better friend. She said, "I believe it." This day retenue; 
be firm and only silent. What a world is this! 

SUNDAY 11 MARCH. Yesterday you was melted with tender 

* Boswell (who was superstitious and showed a lifelong interest in the second- 
sight) appears to have believed that this was a portent of his child's death or 

rather, of his receipt of the news. 

11 March 1764 179 

distress. You walked musing in the Mall. You would fain have per- 
suaded yourself that it was not true, that Charles was still alive. At 
dinner you was faint and gloomy, and you read Greek feebly. At 
night you had Hungarians. You made the divine talk over the Cal- 
vinistical doctrines, and he displayed unintelligible perplexity. 
Did you not determine to keep mind fixed to real objects, and to 
expel speculations, which you know to be uncertain? This day at 

ten, Jesuits' church Sup not tonight. Have unaffected serious 

sorrow. Let your religion be just and manly. 

MONDAY 12 MARCH. Yesterday you got up very dull. How- 
ever, you dressed and went to the Jesuits' church, where the solemn 
worship put venerable ideas in your mind, not without many 
strange recollections of past life and philosophical ideas at present. 1 
You stayed at home and dined not. You was easy at church. 2 
After it, Rose and you walked. You owned that you was very un- 
easy. He said, "We must lay our accounts with such things." He 
advised you against dining at ordinaries; said it would be talked of 
and would do you little good. You talked on Liberty and on GOD'S 
omniscience, and he owned he could not answer but fled to igno- 
rance. You had partie at Madame Fester's with Zelide, fine and 
mild. She said she was jriande? Then all mild with grief. You 
supped Brown's. Rose and he disputed vacuum and plenum? one 
not understanding other. Just enough to show absurd metaphysics. 
This day just begin anew firm, real study. You have kept your hon- 
our. Be silent, nor joke. Don't go partie; Madame Amelisweerd 
deserves a little neglect. 

TUESDAY 13 MARCH. Yesterday you saw the horse-market, 
one of the greatest in the world. The day was sweet and mild, and 

1 The only reference to attendance at Roman Catholic worship during Bos- 
well's residence in Holland. He clearly wished to attend mass and pray for 
the repose of his child's soul. There was no Anglican congregation in Utrecht 

2 Brown's church. 8 "An epicure," 

* The problem of whether or not all space is filled with matter. Johnson had 
discussed it on 22 July 1763, no doubt because Boswell had then brought it 
up. See Boswell 9 s London Journal, 1762-1765, 1950, p. 318, 

l8o 13 March 1764 

you walked charming. At dinner you was on guard, and after it you 
read Dutch, and Hall and Sterne's letters. 5 You read Hume tiU you 
was sick. At Madame Amelisweerd's you was pretty well. You 
found yourself at eleven so sleepy, your attention so gone, your 
nerves so unstrung, that you yielded to indulgence of luscious sleep. 
But as fine weather now comes, be firm and fill up each day. 
Tonight, cheerful silence. Zelide. 

WEDNESDAY 14 MARCH. Yesterday you lay abed at ease. You 
was still dreary and was glad as a relief to make Bourier 6 chat. You 
was thus amused insensibly. At dinner Brown's Scots indelicacy 
hurt you. Rose and you talked of it as very disagreeable. At As- 
sembly chez Madame de Zuylen you was tranquil. Vassell said, 
"My sister knows very well that you are sorry that she is ill." La 
Comtesse was truly chagrined. But you knocked a pair of ducats out 
of her pocket at cards. This turned up her Dutch nose/ At night you 
was pretty well. After dinner you said imprudently you had so bad 
a view of life that you could almost do anything 

5 In manuscript. Brown had told him on 26 January that he was acquainted 
with Laurence Sterne's friend, John Hall-Stevenson, "whom he used to sit 
up with till three at Geneva," and that he had a letter from Sterne. Boswell 
had met Sterne in London in the spring of 1760. 

This name does not occur elsewhere in the memoranda. Because of the 
ambiguities of Boswell's script, it could equally well be transcribed Bounier 
or Bourien. 

7 " Vassell" is apparently a nickname for Belle de Zuylen's youngest brother 
Vincent. (Diederik was called u Ditie.") Belle was certainly ill at this time 
(see p. 183), but may for all that have been present at this assembly. BoswelFs 
"Livre de Jeu a Utrecht" under date of 13 March 1764 records 10 guilders 

6 stivers (approximately i8s. iod,, $4.60) won from "Mademoiselle de 
Zuylen" but nothing won from the Countess of Nassau Beverweerd. The 
amount, however, is about two ducats. It is easy enough to suppose that 
Boswell posted the account from memory, but a little hard, after his ungallant 
glee at turning up the Countess's Dutch nose, to suppose that he had forgotten 
whom he had won it from. (For converting Dutch money into English in 
these notes, I have made use of a table in Thomas Nugent, The Grand Tour, 
3d ed., 1778, i. 51. For the further conversion into American currency, I 
have arbitrarily set the pound sterling at $4.87.) 

14 March 1764 151 


Temple, say what method shall I find 
Still to preserve my dignity of mind? 
How shall I gain that firm internal force 
Which makes a man move steady in his course; 
By good not soften'd, nor subdu'd by ill, 
Pursue his journey up high Virtue's hill? 

Oft I the warmest resolutions make 
That the great road I never will forsake, 
But oft I find that I have gone astray, 
Nor can I tell how I have lost my way. 

THURSDAY 15 MARCH. Yesterday you was still uneasy. A 
letter from your worthy father full of strong sense, of spirit, and of 
affection, animated you to new endeavours; 8 yet was you feeble. 
At dinner it was dull; but as you observed to Rose, few would have 
supported it so well. You talked over gaming bad from its con- 
sequences. You kept Brown to French. He began course of geog- 
raphy. You stayed tea with Rose, and talked of madness and spleen 
and lying abed; you yielded too much to indolence. Resolve no 
more English speaking. Sustain character of country gentleman. 
Keep mind to self. In a month you go to Hague, and after that you 
need not dine. Be good-humoured. Despair not, nor be proud of 
chagrin . . . 


To you, my friend, 9 1 fear not to disclose 

My real sorrows or my fancied woes; 

For you can all my dreary stories hear, 

Nor make me fretful by a galling sneer. 

To you, whom from my earliest youth I've known, 

Not ev'n my faults am I asham'd to own. 

Doom'd to a life of sadness from my birth, 

1 live a weary stranger on the earth; 
8 Not recovered. 9 Still addressing Temple. 

182 15 March 1764 

In vain I struggle to escape my doom; 
In vain I struggle to be free from gloom. 

FRIDAY 1 6 MARCH . Yesterday you was better. Brown disputed 
against Hume's happiness of little miss and orator being equal. 1 
BROWN. 'They are both equally content. But surely it is possible 
to make beings more happy than merely content. We can compare 
feelings and pronounce some more noble and happy than others. It 
is by comparing absent ideas with present that we judge of size and 
many other things. The miss and the philosopher have their desires 
equally satisfied. This bottle and that glass are equally full. But the 
bottle holds more." Des Essar gave thoughts on translation very 
good. This day rise brisk. Write Temple; tell him all circumstances. 
Ask if 'tis weakness; ask his advice. Push always some subject, 
nor suffer spleen a moment, nor be cast down at woe which you 

only knew of Never dispute on religion with Brown; you'll 

leave him soon. 

SATURDAY i j MARCH. Yesterday you got up at seven. You 
wrote a long splenetic letter to Temple. You tore it; you did well. 
Write him a neat manly one, and talk of your gloom as past. 2 You 
was honoured with a letter from Monsieur van Sommelsdyck. You 
was quite the man of distinction. You attended to Trotz de Pro- 

batiorubus? At dinner you was bad, but stood it After it you 

complained to Rose of the insipidity. He said you could do no better, 
and you owned you did not expect agrements 4 ' at Utrecht. Rose said 
he was very unhappy, and that he had never had such uneasy feel- 
ings before he came to Utrecht At four, Zelide. 

SUNDAY 1 8 MARCH. Yesterday you did pretty well. You wrote 

1 "I mentioned Hume's notion that all who are happy are equally happy; a 
little miss with a new gown at a dancing-school ball, a general at the head of 
a victorious army, and an orator after having made an eloquent speech in a 

great assembly I remember this very question very happily illustrated 

in opposition to Hume by the Reverend Mr. Robert Brown at Utrecht. 'A 
small drinking-glass' ..." (Life of Johnson, 12 February 1766). 

2 An indication of the fact that in the memoranda we have a truer picture 
of the actual state of Boswell's spirits than in his journal or letters. 

8 On Proof. * "Comforts," "amenities." 

i8 March 1764 183 

genteel letter to Monsieur van Sommelsdyck. After dinner you 
disputed with Brown on Omnipotence and Evil. He said he was 
settled, and that you must travail in birth with such notions for 
some years. "Stuff!" Rose sneered, and said, "If I read Bayle, I 
would be as wise as when I began." 5 You walked with Rose, but 
could make little of him. You was so bad as really to think of de- 
spairing. You drank tea with Zelide; father and mother very good to 
you. She bad, but quite friendly and charming. You chatted easy; 
saw her in good humour. She said she could have a husband that 
she would not tire of if he had something to do. Hungarian talked 
physic, 6 and bid me let blood to render agilis. You grew quite easy. 
This day , . . copy Portraits and send to Zelide. 

MONDAY 19 MARCH. Yesterday you awaked as dismal as 

mortal could be. You grew better You walked with Vincent, 7 

who amused you with stories of the family s'ennuiant. Rose walked 
with you and agreed that Dr. Clarke had made the proofs for the 
Being, &c,, strong, but advised a course of Natural Philosophy. You 
said that contingencies are supposed in the Scriptures, and so things 
are accounted for consistently. You receive a revelation from a 
Being whom you have the strongest proofs that he is, 8 and he 
promises to make the good happy. Just keep to this. Be quiet and 
never own waverings, for then you're moulded by every hand. Let 
principles be in your own mind. Pursue Plan No partie to- 
night, but letters and Zelide. Say not another word to Rose on 
speculation. He goes soon. Be genteel, nor own uneasiness. 

6 Pierre Bayle (1647-1706), a Frenchman, was brought up a Protestant, be- 
came a Roman Catholic, and then returned to Protestantism of a decidedly 
rationalistic cast. He had been professor at Rotterdam, but had been removed 
from his chair there because of his sceptical tendencies. His Dictionnaire 
historique et critique (1697) analyzed and criticized in a rationalistic 
fashion all these doctrines which Boswell and Broun were debating. If Brown 
recommended Bayle, he could hardly have been a strict Calvinist. Boswell 
hated the doctrine of predestination and wished with all the power of his 
being either to forget or to disprove it, but whenever he was seriously de- 
pressed, he found it at once fascinating and irrefutable. 6 Medicine. 

7 Belle de Zuvlen's brother. 8 Boswell lost track of his sentence. 

184 *9 March 1764 

[Received 19 March, Madame Geelvinck to Boswell. 
Original in French] 

The Hague, 1 7 [March 1 764] 

EXCUSE MY SILENCE, DEAR SIR. The reasons which have com- 
pelled me to put off writing are too long and too boring to write 
down. The Hague is not a place for correspondence, as you know. It 
has been impossible for me to copy the Portrait, but I hope to atone 
for my idleness by sending it to you in the hand of the author. 9 1 
have seen your friend Gordon and judge differently of him than 
Mademoiselle de Zuylen does. You will soon see me again at 
Utrecht, where I hope to repeat face to face how much I am your 
servant and sincere friend, 


My pen and ink are both excessively bad, and my scribbling is 


Compassionate by temperament, liberal and generous by in- 
clination, Zelide is complaisant only on principle. When she is 
mild and affable, be grateful to her; she is making an effort. When 
she remains for any length of time civil and polite to those whom 
she does not care for, redouble your esteem: she is a martyr. 

9 There are among the Boswell Papers two "portraits": the first the well- 
known "Portrait of Zelide" by Belle de Zuylen herself, the other (I think) 
of Madame Geelvinck, also by Belle de Zuylen. (See p. 131.) A translation of 
the "Portrait of Zelide" is printed after this letter. I have followed Boswell's 
text rather than Godet's (Madame de Charricre ct scs amis, i. 59-61) except 
for one or two places where Boswell clearly made an error of transcription. 
Professor F. W. Hilles has helped me generously in the phrasing of the 
translation, and I have borrowed half a dozen words or so from Geoffrey 
Scott's brilliant version of part of the portrait in The Portrait of Zelide, 
Constable (Scribner), 1925. 

1 The H here seems odd. Madame Geelvinck's Christian names were Cath- 
erina Elisabeth and her family name was Hasselaer. 

19 March 1764 185 

Her vanity is boundless and boundless by gift of Nature, but if 
it had not been, her experience of mankind and her resulting scorn 
would soon have made it so. She has already come to see that fame 
is nothing if purchased at the expense of happiness, but she would 
still submit to much for the sake of fame. When will the light of the 
intellect direct the inclinations of the heart? When it does, Zelide 
will cease to be a coquette. 

Unhappy contradiction! Zelide, who would not needlessly 
strike a dog or crush the vilest insect, would perhaps in certain 
moods enjoy making a man unhappy, and unhappy for her own 
amusement; merely for a kind of prestige which does not deceive 
her intellect in the least and tickles her vanity only for an instant. 
But her feeling of superiority is short-lived: the first glimpse of 
triumph brings her to herself. She no sooner recognizes the scheme 
in her heart than she despises it, loathes it, and wishes to renounce 
it for ever. 

You will ask me perhaps if Zelide is beautiful, or pretty, or 
merely passable. I do not know. It all depends on your loving her 
or her wishing to make herself beloved. She has a beautiful neck; 
she knows it, and displays a little more of it than modesty allows. 
Her hands are not white. She knows that, too; she jokes about it, 
but she would be happy not to have this cause for joking. 

Affectionate in the extreme and even more fastidious, she can- 
not be happy either with love or without it. But where did Friend- 
ship ever find a temple more hallowed, more worthy of his pres- 
ence, than Zelide's heart? 

Realizing that she is too sensitive to be happy, she has almost 
ceased to hope for happiness. She flees from remorse and pursues 
diversion. Her pleasures are rare, but they are lively. She snatches 
them, she relishes them eagerly. Aware of the futility of planning 
and the uncertainty of the future, she seeks above all to make the 
passing moment happy. Can you not guess her secret? Zelide is 
something of a sensualist. 

Too lively and too powerful feelings; too much inner activity 
with no satisfactory outlet: there is the source of all her misfor- 

i86 19 March 1764 

tunes. If her organism had been less sensitive, Zelide would have 
had the character of a great man; if she had been less intelligent 
and rational, she would have been only a weak woman. 

Addition to the Portrait of Zelide 

You insist: the portrait of Zelide must be reconsidered. If it 
were only a question of making another, the thing would be easy. 
Zelide's friends say that it would be possible to make twenty, all 
like the original, all differing from one another. But the task is 
more difficult than that. The author of the portrait must erase 
certain lines from an old sketch, dashed off carelessly to fill the 
vacancy of an evening in autumn a sketch that was intended 
only for the eyes of a single woman friend and that ought never to 
have been given to the world. She would have retouched it if she 
had intended it to be circulated, but almost before she had read it 
over, it escaped from her hands. Many people assure her that she 
was unfair to Zelide in saying that she is good-humoured only on 
principle. She herself now enters an appeal against a judgment of 
which she once approved. 

If to be kind is to weep over the unfortunate, to place beyond 
price the happiness of every sensitive being, to be willing to sacri- 
fice one's self to others but never to sacrifice others to one's self, 
Zelide is kind by nature and always was so. But if it is not enough 
to observe scrupulous fairness with a heart that is compassionate 
and sensitive; if to be kind one must also dissimulate one's dislikes 
and disgusts, must not speak out when one is right, must respect 
the weaknesses of others; must make those who have tortured 
us by their wrong-headedncss forget the points in which they 
wore wrong then Zelide has always hoped to be kind, and is be- 
coming so. Her heart is capable of great sacrifices; she accustoms 
her temper to small ones. She tries to make every moment of 
those who approach her happy, for she would like to make their 
lives happy, and moments make life. Though she is too sensitive to 
be happy herself, those who associate with her profit by her un^ 

ig March 1764 187 

happiness. Her existence ought not to be useless; and the less it 
appears a good to her, the more she wishes to make it a good for 
them. When she feels like crying, she tries to make others laugh; 
she forgets her own afflictions in order to soften those of others. 
She wishes to be happy in the happiness of others when she cannot 
be happy in her own. For the rest, to do her duty is the first of con- 
solations, as it is the sweetest of pleasures; and Zelide believes that 
the happiness of those to whom Providence has joined her destiny 
is a charge which has been entrusted to her. 

Second Addition 

If enough justice has not been done her on the score of kindness, 
perhaps on the score of friendship she has been too generously 
handled. There is no friend more active than she, but must one 
have a strong liking for a person in order to be zealous in his serv- 
ice? There is no confidant more discreet than she, but would Zelide 
betray an enemy either? Gay and bantering, she is reproached 
for mocking at every one. She sees without prejudice what is ridicu- 
lous, and she laughs at it without scruple. Love himself could not 
bind her eyes. But Zelide does not stop loving those who move her 
to laughter; she never expected to find human beings without 
weaknesses. A man who is ridiculous amuses her but cannot make 
her angry. She is very far from preferring vice to absurdity. To 
views unfortunately narrow, one small blemish ruins the most 
beautiful picture; to eyes that are truly kind, ridicule does not in 
the least efface the splendour of merit. Even vices do no harm to 
virtues: one should see mankind trait for trait. Her confidence, it 
is said, is not flattering; it is too general, and perhaps if it were be- 
trayed, Zelide would not be much surprised. I have read that men 
cannot hide their own secrets nor women the secrets of others, but 
in this Zelide is not a woman. Another's secret is for her a sacred 
charge; her own is in her power. She disposes of it according to her 
fancy; or rather, Zelide has no secrets. What would she not reveal 
to amuse herself and shock others? She is forced by a memory from 

i88 19 March 1764 

which nothing is effaced, by a heart which never forgives itself 
anything, to respect everything that concerns others. To risk other 
people's goods would be unjust; unceasing regret would be her 
punishment. But she makes sport of what concerns herself alone. 
She always sacrifices the future to the present, and as soon as the 
present has become past, it too [is sacrificed]. 2 She rarely thinks 
she has paid too much for a gratification. But if a brief amusement 
cost her long vexation, her repentance would be merely that of a 
bad economist who had made a poor bargain. What a difference 
between him and the wretch who has robbed the public or ruined 
his wards! It is her lack of concern for the future that has caused 
Zelide to commit a thousand imprudences. If she had reflected an 
instant, her portrait would not now be running about the world. 
She would have realized that almost half of mankind is malicious, 
and that that half speaks for the other, which cannot read. Fortu- 
nately the blame of a thousand fools and of a hundred thousand 
prudes is not worth a moment of regret. Every day Zelide grows 
more insensitive to the judgment of the blind multitude. She would 
despair if those who know her well quitted her without regret, or 
met her again without pleasure, or spoke of her without esteem. 
Would it show self-love if she questioned whether that would ever 
happen? She is not always greatly loved, but people always choose 
to be with her rather than away from her. This is precious to her: 
it ought to be. It assures her that she deserves esteem, and she is 
very glad to deserve it. But how does it concern her happiness if 
people should admire or blame her at a distance on hearsay, on 
vague reports, on remarks half understood? Can she think either 
more or less highly of herself because of such things? 

Blest Sensibility! Zelide will never disown thee, thou sole 
offset for the misfortune of nice discernment and exacting taste. 
Thou who causest her to cherish the sweets of Nature, thou who 
dost bind her to the Arts much more than capricious Vanity! Thou 
art highly dangerous, perhaps, but thou art always a positive good. 

2 Boswell left a blank, probably because he could not read the word in Belle's 
hand. Godet does not print the passage. 

ig March 1764 189 

Bad luck to them who know no innocent delights of sense! It is 
not for them (as the author of Emile says), no, it is not for them 
that I write. 

TUESDAY 20 MARCH. Yesterday you lay abed purely to have 
a little present ease. You called on Brown; told him you was not 
well. Said he, "You are melancholy." You asked if he would not 
take amiss your dining elsewhere some days. He said, "By no 
means," with true frankness, and bid you amuse yourself. At ten 
you had letter from la Veuve, sweet and elegant. Yet, alas ! it did 
not elevate your gloomy soul. However, be proud of it. She's the 
finest prize in the Provinces, and you'll be well with her. You dined 
at Roster's 3 blackguards. You was direfully melancholy and had 
the last and most dreadful thoughts. You came home and prayed. 
You read Greek, and Voltaire on the English. This day, spring up. 
Resolve this. You can't be worse, and it may harden. You have 
not owned too much. Return to Brown's; resume and improve; 
don't joke. 

[c. 20 MARCH. FRENCH THEME] ... I am in doubt wha't is the 
best breakfast. Some people take soup, others take meat. But the 
most general mode in Europe is to take tea or coffee. But still there 
are difficulties. What is best to eat with tea and coffee? In Switzer- 
land you have hot cakes well covered with butter. In London you 
have muffins, which are much the same thing, or sometimes butter- 
toast, that is, bread and butter toasted together. Sometimes you 
are given bread, either toasted or not, and left to put the butter on 
it yourself; and in some slightly more luxurious families, you are 
also served honey and preserves. After all, in breakfasting each 
must follow his own taste. There is no truer proverb than that 
which says that one man's meat is another man's poison. 

The opinions of mankind are fairly well agreed in the matter 
of dinner. Every one at mid-day wishes to eat something substan- 
tial and hot. There is, however, a great difference as to the number 

8 A hotel in the Oudkerkhof , not far from the Cathedral Square. The point is 
merely that it was a new eating-place for Boswell, and that he did not like it 

igo 20 March 1764 

of dishes and the manner of dressing them. I myself do not like a 
mixture of meats. I like a good soup, a slice of beef or mutton, and 
a little green stuff or pastry; and there is my dinner. 

There is a diversity of opinion as to supper. In France and in 
several other countries they have a heavy meal at night. In Eng- 
land people eat almost nothing. I think it is much more healthful 
not to eat supper, or to take only something very light. However, 
I admit that that depends principally on habit, for there are people 
who eat supper, even a hearty supper, yet who are perfectly well. 
Again, each man to his own taste* . . . 

WEDNESDAY 21 MARCH. Yesterday you told Mr. Brown that 
you would not desert him; that one in gloom thinks to be relieved 
by changes, but that they are vain. He said you would do well after 
Mr. Rose goes to change about. You said you could not be so well. 
At dinner he amused you with Sir W. Aston and his family. Facts 
are most entertaining. Sir W. asked in the Presbyterian church, 
"Pray, what is it? Is it a worship?" ... He said a melancholy man 
should marry a woman who is not so. You attended well to geog- 
raphy and to Greek but joined with Rose against Utrecht; 'tis in- 
fectious. At Assembly chez Comtesse you behaved well, though 

with brutes. ... Be pious like Pitfour 4 All will come well. 

Journal at night. 

[2 1 MARCH. FRENCH THEME]* I will try to relate in passable 
French Mr. Brown's conversation at dinner yesterday. "We once 
had at Utrecht," said he, "the most uncouth English family that 
one Jan conceive. Sir Willoughby Aston 6 had an estate of 5000 
a year in the west of England. He spent a great deal of money to 
win an election, which he lost after all; and he lived on too splendid 
a footing. He found his affairs somewhat embarrassed, and re- 
solved to pass some years in foreign countries in order to save. He 

4 James Fergusson of Pitfour, a prominent member of the Scots bar, an 
Episcopalian and reputed Jacobite. Boswell often sets his learning and p'iety 
up for imitation. 

5 The French original of this theme is printed below, p. 391. 

6 Sir Willoughby was the nephew of Dr. Johnson's favourite, Molly Aston. 

21 March 1764 191 

was a great hog, an enormous lout. He squinted horribly, but he 
was not without a kind of rude common sense; and as he had been 
justice of the peace for several years, he knew all about the poor's 
rates. His wife was the most ridiculous and disgusting of beings. 
She was nearly fifty and dressed like a girl of sixteen. She was 
affected and vain and insipid and capricious. Her brother, Mr. Pye, 
a merchant of Amsterdam, detested her. He had engaged to come 
and dine with her and to present his wife. Lady Aston was alone 
in Utrecht. Mr. Brown 7 was invited to this dinner. He went at four 
o'clock, fearing that he was too late. But the dinner was put off to 
five. My Lady became very impatient. She asked Mr. Brown if he 
was not hungry. He confessed that he was. 'But,' said he, 'we must 
wait for Mr. Pye, for he said he would be a little late.' It was a very 
correct and sensible remark. However, it struck my Lady's giddy 
brain with some disproportionate emphasis, and brought into her 
mind the thought: 'On my word, these bourgeois are very impolite. 
They ought to conform to the hours of people of quality. I will not 
wait another minute.' Mr. Brown begged her not to take such hasty 
measures, but she was inexorable. She had the dinner brought in, 
and my Lady and Mr. Brown took their places at a table set for 
eighteen. They had hardly begun on their soup when the whole 
company arrived, and before all the honours were done the dinner 
was cold. They ate it, however, and my Lady gave herself tremen- 
dous airs. 

"After dinner they sat down to cards. Mr. Brown and Mr. Pye 
did not play, but chatted in Dutch. 'Well,' said Pye, 'have you ever 
seen the like of that sister of mine? I think she is the greatest fool 
in the world.' 'But,' said Mr. Brown, 'why do you let these people 
travel about any more? They expose themselves wherever they go.' 
'That is true,' replied Mr. Pye, 'but I let them travel because I 
want to keep them away from me.' 

"Sir Willoughby used to stay in bed till one o'clock. He would 

7 Boswell is now telling the story in the third person, but as it is impossible 
to fix the point at which the construction changes, it seems better to continue 
the marks of direct quotation. 

21 March 1764 
get up and place himself before the fire with the utmost indolence. 
He would shout to one of his daughters, Tolly! My shoes Aa ". 
She would bring them. 4 Aa ' said he, "shoes without buckles 
Aa '. He would grumble like that through the whole morning. He 
was very fond of drinking when he had company. He lived in 
Utrecht on a magnificent footing. He received a great many 
courtesies. But finally he bored everybody. Guiffardiere and Hill, 
two young preachers who liked good living, were the only ones 
who remained faithful to the Aston family. 

"The Knight had five daughters, the eldest of whom was very 
amiable and suffered sadly from the absurdity of her father and 
her mother. Young Willoughby was the most mischievous of imps 
without the least trace of manners. He came one Saturday into a 
good-sized party without invitation. He chattered and drank and 
ate their cracknels until Mr. Cochrane gave him a rap on the 
knuckles and chased him out of the room. Such was the Aston 

"They had a Scotch servant whom they called 'Hume' or 
'Humes.' Mr. Brown asked him, 'Where did you get that name?' 
Toh!' said he, 'my name is Hugh Macgregor, but her silly Lady- 
ship has given me the name of Humes.' 

"This famous family is now at Tours in France, where they 
are spending more money than they spent in England." 

THURSDAY 22 MARCH. Yesterday you was better. Rose and 
you walked after dinner. He said he was very lazy. You owned 

nothing. He drank coffee with you and talked of suicide You 

grew well at night. This day show that you are Boswell, a true 
soldier. Take your post. Shake off sloth and spleen, and just pro- 
ceed. Nobody knows your conflicts. Be fixed as Christian, and 
shun vice. Go not to Amsterdam. 9 Read more law. Write Father 
neat clear little letter. No metaphysics. Plain things. Be silent and 

8 A yawn. 

9 To a brothel. See p. 236. For the first time since coming to Utrecht he is 
beginning to consider seriously the possibility of patriarchal indulgence. 

22 March 1764 193 

polite always. Just resume Utrecht and expel antipathies. Affleck, 
Broomholm, J. Bruce. 10 


And must not I have speculations sad 

Who still am shudd'ring lest I should grow mad? 

Who think that sentence is against me pass'd 

And that my reason has not long to last? 

With an alarming consciousness I feel 

My wild ideas in confusion reel, 

And through my gloomy and tumult'ous brain 

With cruel rage successive horrors reign. 

I think that I (0 height of dire despair!) 

Am a poor blasted tree that cannot bear. 

FRIDAY 23 MARCH. Yesterday you got up bad. After dinner 
you grew better. At Society chez, Peterson (Montesquieu's prin- 
ciple of honour) ,* you recovered quite. You came home quite well. 
. . . You will make a man. Adore GOD and rejoice that you are vir- 
tuous. Reserve for wife except some Maintenon 2 occur. Be good 
to Rose. Get little box for journal. Be a true soldier. Read more 
French, Saturday, journal. To keep nerves firm, shave fine. Have 
good humour. 

[Boswell to Temple] 

Utrecht, 23 March 1 764 

MY DEAR TEMPLE, For some time past our correspondence 
has been very irregular. You delayed for two months to answer 
my last. I have delayed to answer yours still longer. 3 I must 

10 The Broomholm was a farm at Auchinleck, and James Bruce was the 
overseer. 1 The topic discussed at the Society. 

2 That is, a mistress of a very unusual and superior sort. 

3 Temple had delayed roughly two months, for Boswell had written to him 
on 4 December and he had replied on 7 February. But his letter was actually 

194 23 March 1764 

however for my vindication inform you that I have at different 
times this week written you two long letters. But they were so very 
splenetic that I have not sent them. During our Christmas vacation 
I went to The Hague, where I passed some weeks in brilliant dissi- 
pation. I received very great civilities from my Dutch relations 
and other people of the first distinction. Upon my return to Utrecht 
I found that my mind had been weakened. I had not the same vig- 
our as before. I took a severe cold, which hurt my spirits, and some 
posts ago I received accounts of the death of that child of whom 
you have heard me talk so much. This is an affliction of an uncom- 
mon nature; for although I never saw him, believe me, I am not 
a little distressed. I mourn for an idea. I mourn for one with respect 
to whom I had formed many agreeable plans which must now be 
dashed from my mind. 

You see a concurrence of circumstances to bring back my mel- 
ancholy. You may conceive what dreary thoughts have oppressed 
me. You may conceive how I have extended the gloomy prospect. I 
have indeed been so bad as almost to despair. I wrote yesterday 
a letter to my worthy father and told him my situation. I am vexed 
that I did so. For although I have talked with moderation, yet I am 
afraid he will be uneasy. I have told him that I am weary of 
Utrecht, and that I am anxious to know his scheme for my travels. 
This day I am so much better as to see that I must not yield to slight 
disgust, that I must follow out the plan upon which I came hither, 
nor think of stirring till the Civil Law lectures are ended. 

I see too that I am getting improvement here. I have read 
Xenophon's Anabasis, his Spartan and Athenian Republics, and 
his Life of Agesilaus. I am now reading Plutarch's Lives. 1 shall 
select some of them only. I have advanced very well in French. 
I am just about finishing Voltaire's General History. I have picked 
up a little Dutch. I have not given such application to the Civil and 
Scots law as I ought to have done; however, I have done tolerably. 

I am now so sadly clouded that I cannot see the advantage of 

dated 7 January; and it is this erroneous date that Boswell has in mind when 
he says he has delayed still longer. 

23 March 1764 195 

my studies. But this must pass. I have been tormenting myself with 
abstract questions concerning Liberty and Necessity, the attributes 
of the Deity, and the origin of Evil. I have truly a dark disposition. 
I must be patient. I may yet become quite clear. I have rather a 
hard task of it. I have no friend to whom I can disclose my anxieties 
and receive immediate relief. 

Come, I will be firm. Excuse me, my friend, for writing in this 
insipid manner. I never felt such an absence of genius. I never was 
so lumpish. 

The Countess of whom I talked so much turns out a very so-so 
vrouw. I have a woeful want of discernment. Witness the beauty 
to whom I paid my respects last summer under the gallant name 
of Sir Charles Boston. How ugly did we find her! 4 

Paris must no doubt be delicious at present. But I imagine 
I shall first take a tour in Germany. I would choose to proceed 
through Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and return by France. 

I have no relish at present for anything. But undoubtedly I 
shall have some by and by. You are used to splenetic complaints. 
You have heard them from Clarke and from Stockdale, 5 and often 
and often from Boswell. 

I fear my father will wish to shorten my course as much as 
possible. He will wish to have me at home to set me fairly a-going 
as a man of business. I shall do my best to please him. I may yet 
be an useful and respected man. 

I am at this moment so well that I despise myself for having 
been so subdued by gloom, and I will not allow myself the vanity 
of being melancholy. Thus it is, my dear friend. Forgive me. I 
shall give you a much better epistle soon. In the mean time, I beg 
to hear from you without delay. Encourage me, and bid me conceal 

4 Not a hint of this is entered in the London journal of the period, nor in the 
parallel memoranda. Could the lady have been Miss Floyer? See p. 36. 

5 "Stockdale" is Percival Stockdale, rake, wit, clergyman, editor the man 
to whom Johnson said that living in a ship was worse than living in jail. 
"Clarke" became an officer in the Guards. Both were friends of Temple at 

196 23 March 1764 

my distress. Indeed, I have been very prudent. People only observe 
that I am un peu triste. Bless me! how easy am I just now. I am 
with my Temple. I am happy. Have you yet determined for the 
priesthood? What is Bob about? Is Claxton well? I have had a long 
letter from Mr. Johnson. I correspond hi French with Sir David 
Dalrymple. I have a great quantity of journal. Should I send it to 
you? I left some papers in chambers. My dear friend, yours ever, 


I am infinitely better. My next shall be a more agreeable 
epistle. Pray write soon. 

SATURDAY 24 MARCH. Yesterday you was very bad after 
dinner, and shuddered with dire ideas. You was incertain and con- 
fused and lazy, talked of going to bed, and could scarcely read 
Greek. You went to Assembly. You cleared up. You went to 
Brown's, was cheerful and content; came home happy and resolved 
to do well. This day recollect the dreadful conflict which you have 
had. Just a return of the black foe. You have behaved well. You 
have only written to Father and friends, and have owned it moder- 
ately to Brown. Journal all morning Tea, Amerongen at four; 

five, Zelide; eight, Hungarians 

SUNDAY 25 MARCH. Yesterday you awaked in great disorder, 
thinking that you was dying, and exclaiming, "There's no more 
of it! Tis all over." Horrid idea! You had sat up till four, writing. 
You got up and found that your sitting up had made quite an alter- 
ation in your system. You was clear, active, pious in a clear and 
benevolent manner, which you may always be. Rose's departure 
being fixed pleased you. Brown said that spleen is distemper, and 
you must with time be quite free of it. You drank tea at Zelide's; 
walked with Des Essar; had fine Society, Hungarians, and trans- 
lated Johnson's satire 6 in Latin. This day see how you can go on. 
At any time sit up to cure. . . . 

MONDAY 26 MARCH. Yesterday you called on Grand Bailiff, 
where you are always filled with excellent ideas. He said a jaunt 
to The Hague deranged him quite. So are men. You was much 
6 London or The Vanity of Human Wishes, probably the latter. 

26 March 1764 197 

diseased, for you had during the day perhaps seven or eight differ- 
ent minds. . . . After you came home, you was sound: neither 
high nor low. This day recollect. You've only owned a little melan- 
choly; that's all. You have maintained character. . . . Lose no time. 
But be always busy or gay. See la Veuve. Command tongue. Eat 

TUESDAY 27 MARCH. Yesterday, though bad in the morning, 
you was well all day. You have resolved neither to own misery 
nor weakness for ten days. Send to see how Zelide is. ... At night 
you was clear and happy and in humour to write. But, by reason, 
you went to bed not to risk night damp. Fix law hours, and write 
a page [of] Erskine as regular as ten lines; also journal, so much 
each morning. Tonight mild with la Veuve. Write Johnston soon 
... At all events, retenue. If joy comes, well. Mem. Demosthenes. 7 

\_c. 27 MARCH. FRENCH THEME] [Indolence] attacks me 
especially in the morning. I go to bed at night with the most deter- 
mined resolutions to get up early. Francois, my faithful servant, 
wakes me at half -past six. But when I open my eyes and see day- 
light again, a crowd of disagreeable ideas comes into my mind. 
I think gloomily of the vanity and misery of human life. I think 
that it is not worth while to do anything. Everything is insipid 
or everything is dark. Either my feelings will be numbed, or I shall 
feel pain; and I can only solace myself with a little present ease. 
Happy is the man who can forget that he exists. That is the doctrine 
of Monsieur Maupertuis, who, in order to maintain his thesis that 
men are desperately unhappy, observes that they try by all possible 
means to escape from themselves: by sleep, by amusements, and 
even by work. But this flighty philosopher has explained the 
nature of man very falsely. The truth is that man is made for 
action. When he is busy, he fulfils the intention of his Creator, 

7 Probably the following passage from Plutarch's Parallel Lives: "Demos- 
thenes . . . regarded other points in the character of Pericles to be unsuited to 
him; but his reserve and his sustained manner, and his forbearing to speak on 
the sudden, or upon every occasion, as being the things to which principally 
he owed his greatness, these he followed ..." (Translation by Dryden). 

ig8 27 March 1764 

and he is happy. Sleep and amusement serve to refresh his body 
and his mind and qualify him to continue his course of action. How 
is it then that I feel so gloomy every morning, and that these con- 
vincing arguments have not the least influence on my conduct? 
I believe the explanation is some physical disorder. My nerves at 
that time are relaxed, the vapours have risen to my head. If I get 
up and move about a little, I am happy and brisk. But it is with 
the utmost difficulty that I can get up. I have thought of having 
my bed constructed in a curious fashion. I would have it so that 
when I pulled a cord, the middle of the bed would be immediately 
raised and me raised with it and gradually set up on the floor. Thus 
I should be gently forced into what is good for me. 8 


And must I now heroic lines compose, 
I, who fatigu'd with various thinking, doze? 
Who, by a kind of lethargy oppress'd, 
Maintain that man was only made for rest; 
Whose lazy blood is stirr'd by no desire, 
In whose fat frame there is no spark of fire, 

8 "I talked of the difficulty of rising in the morning. [Dr. Johnson told him 
of a home-made alarm devised by Mrs. Elizabeth Carter; when she was 
roused from sleep, she had no difficulty in getting up.] But I said that was 
my difficulty; and wished there could be some medicine invented which 
would make one rise without pain, which I never did, unless after lying 
in bed a very long time. Perhaps there may be something in the stores of 
Nature which could do this. I have thought of a pulley to raise me gradually; 
but that would give me pain, as it would counteract my internal inclination. 
I would have something that can dissipate the vis inertiae and give elasticity 
to the muscles. As I imagine that the human body may be put, by the opera- 
tion of other substances, into any state in which it has ever been, and as I 
have experienced a state in which rising from bed was not disagreeable but 
easy, nay, sometimes agreeable, I suppose that this state may be produced 
if we knew by what. We can heat the body, we can cool it; we can give it 
tension or relaxation; and surely it is possible to bring it into a state in which 
rising from bed will not be a pain" (Life of Johnson, ig September 1777). 

27 March 1764 199 

Who the warm chimney-corner would not quit 
For all the brilliant charms of lively Wit; 
Nor by the voice of Glory or the Fair 
Be tempted to forsake an easy-chair. 

WEDNESDAY 28 MARCH. Yesterday you was still gloomy; but 
you read Civil and Scots law and found that they are only bug- 
bears, and grew well. At Assembly chez. Mademoiselles Bottestein 
you saw la Veuve and was charming, but had not time to talk fully. 
Hardenbroek said to her, "You are the loadstone." You said, "I am 
the steel." ... At night you was clear and resolved to go on manly. 
This day write . . . Madame Spaen . . . 

[Boswell to Madame de Spaen. Original in French] 9 

Utrecht, 28 March 1764 

MADAME: You had the goodness to tell me that you would 
permit me to correspond with you when my travels should have 
carried me to greater distance. In saying this, did you have a 
scheme of testing my love for your country? Did you wish to see if 
I could resist so great a temptation to leave it? But, Madame, is it 
not possible for me to enjoy so flattering a favour while I remain in 
Holland? This letter comes to ask it; rather to beg it. 

My French is still very imperfect, but I dare risk it. I hope that 
you will understand me for the greater part, and when you meet 
phrases that are absolutely unintelligible, you have only to invite 
a few scholars to dinner. It will give them something to do to de- 
cipher them, and you will be pleasantly diverted. It is, however, 
a consolation to know that my French will all the time be improv- 

Mademoiselle de Zuylen and I are very good friends. I find her 
charming, in spite of the simile of the battalion which amused me 

9 This, the first of several long letters to Madame de Spaen, consists mainly 
of compliments which I have ventured to excise. But the portion about Belle 
de Zuylen is interesting. 

2oo 2 $ March 1764 

so much. 1 But granting the battalion, would one not be happy to be 
its colonel? If it is u badly drilled," that must be remedied. Made- 
moiselle de Zuylen deserves a great deal more fame and love than 
she gets. She has quite superior parts and the best heart in the 
world. If I boast of her friendship, I shall be accused of tacitly 
boasting that I possess wit myself. I confess that I do sometimes 
pretend to a little. I fear, however, that you will say only that my 
esprit resembles those other esprits of which we are so frightened, 
those that never show themselves in company. Excuse a play on 
words. 2 To tell the truth I do not make the figure in company 
which I imagine in my closet. I have not yet enough breeding in 
society so that I can always show uniform cheerfulness. And some- 
times a proud bashfulness makes me remain in gloomy silence. 

My letter is already too long. I hardly dare detain you further 
to beg you to pay my respects to all those who were so kind to me at 
The Hague. I have the honour to be, with the most distinguished 
consideration, Madame, your most obliged and very humble 



That life is changeful, all who live allow, 
But none e'er felt it more than I feel now. 
Last night my verses were in rueful tone, 
I tried to sing, but I could only groan. 
The blackest clouds of melancholy hung 
Upon my mind, unwieldy was my tongue. 

1 Madame de Spaen (or her husband he was a colonel) had probably said 
that Belle was as alarming as a badly drilled battalion of troops. 

2 A rather clumsy one on two meanings of the French word esprit: "wit" and 

3 The reader needs constantly to remind himself that the memoranda were 
written in the morning, reviewing the events of the preceding day, while 
the ten-line verses were written at night, generally with reference to events 
of the day just concluding. In this instance the relief which Boswell records 
came after the frantic gesture recorded in the memorandum dated 29 March. 

28 March 1764 201 

And yet (what changes can produce one day!) 
I now am easy, vigorous, and gay; 
And am a bold and generous soldier found 
Resolved at all events to stand my ground. 

THURSDAY 29 MARCH. Yesterday you was bad in the morn- 
ing, but at one you talked to Trotz of new scheme for Scots law 
which put you in spirits. 4 You went out to fields, and in view of 
the tower, drew your sword glittering in the sun, 5 and on your 
knee swore that if there is a Fatality, then that was also ordained; 
but if you had free will, as you believed, you swore and called the 
Great G to witness that, although you're melancholy, you'll 
stand it, and for the time before you go to Hague, not own it After 
dinner you mounted tower. 6 Tea, Zelide, fine; la Veuve there. 
. . . This day, books to Trotz; Greek at nine. Be busy; no love, firm. 
You may have women as well as live full. But only fine ones. 

FRIDAY 30 MARCH. Yesterday you was very well. You was, 
however, pretty idle except geography and Greek. You see what 

4 A proposal to translate Erskine's Principles into Latin. See p. 245. 
s The "tower" is the great tower of the mediaeval cathedral. Boswell is swear- 
ing on the hilt of his sword, like his knightly ancestors. 
6 "The only substantial remains of the cathedral are one aisle, in which 
divine service is performed, and a lofty, magnificent Gothic tower [then 364 

feet high, now 338], that stands apart from it A stone staircase, steep, 

narrow, and winding, after passing several grated doors, leads into a floor 
which you hope is the top, but which is little more than half way up. Here 
the family of the belfry-man fill several decently furnished apartments and 
show the great bell, with several others, the noise of which it might be sup- 
posed no human ears could bear, as these people must at only the distance of 
a few yards. After resting some minutes in a room the windows of which 
command perhaps a more extended land-view than any other inhabited 
apartment in Europe, you begin the second ascent by a staircase still nar- 
rower and steeper, and when you seem to be so weary as to be incapable of 
another step, half the horizon suddenly bursts upon the view, and all your 
complaints are overborne by expressions of admiration. ... A circle of prob- 
ably more than sixty miles diameter strains the sight from this tremendous 
steeple" (Charles Campbell, The Traveller's Complete Guide through 
Belgium, Holland, and Germany 9 1815, pp. 95-96). 

202 3 March 1764 

fixed hours do. The Society was chez Rham, who gave discourse on 

passions and their being confused When you came home, you 

read a very little. You fell asleep almost on yotq; chair, which you 
never knew till you came to Holland. This day at nine, Brown's, 
and see Wallace's Scots law, so as not to be anxious with Trotz, 
to \\hom you must only offer six ducats. 7 At half eleven, let blood, 
and after this no more lethargy. Go on; be firm. Home at five and 
journal Hard; 'twill please you much hence. Never be rash. 


Illustrious Johnson! When of thee I think, 
Into my little self I timid shrink. 
With all my soul thy genius I admire: 
Thy vig'rous judgment, thy poetic fire, 
Thy knowledge vast, thy excellence of mirth, 
And all thy moral and religious worth. 
The noble dignity of man I see, 
But fear it cannot be attain'd by me. 
Yet I resolve the gen'rous path to try: 
Though less than thee, I may be very high. 

SATURDAY 31 MARCH. Yesterday you was better. You let 
blood. You was resolute. Your blood was thick and black. 8 You 

7 George Wallace, advocate, had published in 1760 A System of the Principles 
of the Law of Scotland; Boswell may be referring to this book or (perhaps 
less likely, since he seems to expect to see "Wallace's Scots law" at Brown's) 
to notes he had taken on the lectures of William Wallace, Professor of Scots 
Law in the University of Edinburgh. In either case, the object of the memo- 
randum seems to have been to assure himself that he would not be completely 
dependent on Trotz for "illustrations" (see p. 245). Six ducats (thirty-three 
guilders, something less than 3) was probably the monthly honorarium he 
planned to suggest, not the total that he expected to pay. See the entries for 
i and 8 April. His expense account shows that he gave Trotz only forty 
guilders (3-12-9) for the entire course of lectures in Civil Law, but in that 
course there were several other students besides himself. 

8 "30 March, For having blood drawn, i guilder 10 stivers" (Expense Ac- 
count). Boswell was constitutionally timid and submitted himself to blood- 
letting much less frequently than the majority of people of his time. 

31 March 1764 203 

walked with Grand Bailiff. You read Greek and chased laziness. 
You was at home all evening and grew bold by reading Johnson's 
satires. You brought up a sweep of journal. You now know where 
you are. This day, French theme. At ten, Trotz. Show specimen of 
translation. Give at most ten ducats 

[c. 31 MARCH. FRENCH THEME] . . . Des Essar is a true 
pedant, a fop in learning, and sometimes he is very much mis- 
taken. 9 He was once a Capuchin. He ran away twice from his mon- 
astery, and the second time he escaped to Brussels, where he lived 
for some time. He taught mathematics to people of the first rank. 
He had an affair which did not go very far, but in which he behaved 
like a man of honour who had noble blood, for Monsieur des Essar 
is assuredly of a distinguished family, though of a rather distant 
branch of it. It was discovered, however, that he had been a Capu- 
chin, and he had to decamp. Poor man! He came into Holland like 
other good Huguenots. He established himself at Amsterdam. He 
had there pupils of the right sort. He belonged to a literary society 

composed of men of wit and amiable women Finally Monsieur 

des Essar married a young Hollandized Englishwoman. He came 
to Utrecht, where he has remained for some time. He still teaches 
mathematics, and he conducts the Gazette Frangaise. He is extrava- 
gantly French. He is vain, he makes compliments. He gets bored, 
and his misery makes the rest of us ashamed of ours, because in him 
it appears so contemptible. 

SUNDAY i APRIL. Yesterday you was fine. You lay too long 
indulging. You sat long with Trotz and found him to be avarus. 1 
Yet you was fond of the scheme. You walked with Rose. After din- 
ner Brown advised you to scheme, if you can labour it enough. You 
thought yourself weak and not grand enough. You have always 
complaints. You wrote some of scheme, but found it very tedious. 
This day, Scots law till ten, and then eclipse, 2 and at twelve, Trotz: 

9 He had corrected Boswell's French rather rudely at the meeting of the 
Literary Society on Thursday evening. 

1 "Greedy." (IJoswell thinks in Latin when he thinks of Trotz.) 

2 An almost total eclipse of the sun, beginning at London at 9.14 A.M. and 


tell fear that you could not write five hours a day. Advise; make 
bargain: for month thirty-three, or four months in all. But 
think. . . . 


No more I'll fret because the time is long, 

No more I'll call the world's great system wrong, 

No more on good and evil will debate, 

And walk the wilds of Liberty and Fate. 

No more on wings of speculation fly: 

Blind goes man's reason when it soars too high. 

To solid studies I my time will give, 

And as a decent worthy fellow live. 

I'll be the honest Laird of Auchinleck, 3 

And from my friends and neighbours have respect. 

MONDAY 2 APRIL. Yesterday you was tolerable. You went to 
the Observatory, but could see nothing. You called on Trotz, who 
was clear for scheme, "Si tu pensam tuam prestare possis."* You 
laboured six hours at it, and did much. At night you supped. 
Nothing to mark, only you speak too little, nor keep Brown enough 
in order. You are retenu. Keep to it ... This day see if you can go 

reaching the maximum of eclipse at 10.42. In the manuscript of Boswelliana 
appears the following anecdote, not included in Rogers's edition and now 
printed with the kind permission of the owners of the manuscript, Mr. and 
Mrs. Donald F. Hyde: "Boswell said to Rham, a short-sighted German who 
had mounted the Utrecht observatory to see the eclipse, April, 1764, 'You 
ought to look at the ladies of the town with your telescope.' 'Sir,' said Rham, 
'that would have been to look at them de haut en bos' " (Literally, "from top 
to bottom," but in a common figurative sense, "haughtily, contemptuously": 
our "to look down on a person." Rham, I suppose, meant, "That would really 
be looking down on them.'* I am informed that a pun on bos, "stockings," 
would be impossible in good French, and would hardly have been ventured 
even by a German addressing a Scotsman.) 

3 Boswell here treats Auchinleck as a word of three syllables by the same kind 
of poetic license that permits Shakespeare occasionally to givs three syllables 
to Gloucester. * "If you can perform your daily stint." 

2 April 1764 205 

on: seven to eight; quarter after nine to eleven; two. At night talk 
to Brown. But be prudent, and think! Temple, Johnson. The 
Scheme will be certain, noble, and cost only cure of lues. 5 

TUESDAY 3 APRIL. Yesterday nothing happened, but only you 
was better, though still hesitating as to Scheme. This day, see how 
you can make it out. At one, talk again to Trotz, and perhaps begin 
it. Consider: it is a plan that may be of use to you for a whole life. 
It is to take a privatissimum* on the law of your country with one 
of the ablest lawyers in Europe, who, by comparing it with the 
Civil and Dutch, will give you a complete knowledge of law. It is 
only remaining here a month longer. At night be fine with la 
Veuve and say you're changeant." Be more retenu, and have iron- 
quillitatem animi* 


This night, ye gods' can I to rhyme pretend, 
The night when Utrecht's dear assemblies end? 
Where I again, ah! never shall appear? 
Can I think thus, nor shed a gloomy tear? 
Around the room my doleful eyes I cast, 
And sadly mutter'd, "Is it then the last?" 
At trente-et-un (forbidden game!) I play'd, 9 
And to take leave some small diversion made; 
I made the power of British luck be felt, 
And snapp'd up fourteen guilders of their geld? 

WEDNESDAY 4 APRIL. Yesterday you was pretty well, but 
confused and changed and desperate. After dinner you said to Rose, 

5 "Cost only as much as you would pay a surgeon for curing a venereal 

6 A lecture or course of lectures given by a professor at his home to a select 
few, in this case to Boswell as sole student. T "Changeable." 

8 "Calm of mind." 

9 "Forbidden" presumably because, having been lent by Thomas Sheridan 
money to pay some embarrassing card debts, he had promised never to lose 
more than three guineas at a sitting, and trente-et-un was a game in which he 
could easily lose more. * "Money" (pronounced gelt) . 

206 ^ April 1764 

"I have passed a very disagreeable winter of it, with little enjoy- 
ment." You was truly splenetic. You said to him after, "When I 
recollect, 'twas not so." You are imbecile. You are made by com- 
pany. This day, Trotz at nine, and sign no paction but trust mutu- 
ally. At dinner be easy and say as wonder, "Oh, how complaisant I 
was to say of Utrecht that, &c.," and swear that you're content, and 
that Rose must report so in England. 2 Let this be lesson of prudent 
silence till fit goes off. Home at five . . . Mem., . . . you cannot be 
complete all at once. Make a study of constant good humour. 


The cruel Spleen torments me now again, 
And its foul vapours sheds upon my brain. 
It comes and goes inconstant as the wind, 
And makes a sport of my unhappy mind. 
Three hours ago I was entir'ly sound: 
All was complacent, all was smiling found; 
Hearty I supped and sung a jolly song, 
And thought the time ran cheerfully along. 
But now, alas! I feel a weight of woe, 
And all confus'd and wild to bed I go. 

THURSDAY 5 APRIL. Yesterday you began hour with Trotz. 
You was not a little gloomy. You was distressed about the Scheme. 
Your mind was distracted. At last a lucky hint occurred. You wrote 
to Maclaine, and will have his advice. You walked with Rose for 
last time, and had him and Carron at coffee. You supped Brown's, 
but was galled with his rude mirth. He is quite Scotch. He grows 
too free. You owned your change of ideas; 'twas wrong. Swear never 
own more. Go on with Scheme this week. You went to bed to see if 
ideas change. 

2 Rose had probably started the conversation of the previous day by complain- 
ing that he did not like Utrecht. Boswell's self-direction here means, "Open 
the subject again, and say that you made your unkind remarks about Utrecht 
merely out of kindness for Rose." 

5 April 1764 207 


In tepid water now I hold my feet 

And all the comfort feel of genial heat. 

Down from my head the noxious vapours flow, 

And to my heels without obstruction go. 

Last night I little slept, so that today 

The drowsy god I indolent obey. 

I scarce retain the consciousness of thought, 

And like great Homer I am nodding caught. 

One night I surely shall not be distress'd; 

One night I shall enjoy luxurious rest. 

FRIDAY 6 APRIL. Yesterday after four hours' confused sleep 
you bounced up, went to Carron's, and according to usual form, had 
warm English breakfast. Then went in coach and convoyed poor 
Rose out of Porte and took leave of him. You was dreadful, but it 
could not be perceived. Brown told you of Limier's being vain yet 
timorous, and thinking people despised him; talking of his scheme 

to acquaintances, and at last, though a polite, pretty man . 

Horrid. You shuddered. Swear drive off [such] thoughts. 3 Society 
was chez vous for last time. This day, Greek, one; Trotz, three. Re- 
solve; recollect winter, and just go on clear. See what Maclaine 
says. Determine tomorrow. 

SATURDAY ^ APRIL. Yesterday you was still gloomy. You 
began Greek at one with Brown, and did it well. You're much better 
of some active, springy man along with you. Suffer no antipathies 
to rise at Brown. He is a generous and clever little man. Think, talk 

of him as he deserves Run through ville to drink tea, found 

none, was uneasy; resolved so no more. Played two games at 

billiards at each coffee-house You must this day fix finally 

law Scots. Perhaps send to Professor [Trotz], not tod&y but to- 
morrow. . . . 

3 "Limier" or "Limiers" is not certainly identified, but the point is clear 
enough: Brown told of a man much like Boswell who finally committed 

2o8 7 April 1764 

[Received 7 April, the Reverend Archibald Maclaine to Boswell] 

[The Hague, 6 April 1 764] 

MY DEAR SIR, You will no doubt be surprised at having re- 
ceived no answer to your first letter, and still more so at my letting 
a post pass without answering your second. Your first letter gave 
me inexpressible pleasure, as it confirmed me in the agreeable 
persuasion of nry having a share in your friendship and esteem; 
and could the principle of self-love have conquered that unspeak- 
able antipathy I have to writing letters, the following post would 
have brought you the warm expressions of that gratitude I shall 
ever feel when I think of your partial goodness to me. 

Your second letter demands a speedy answer; and to speak 
frankly, that answer might be contained in two words, nosce 
teipsum.* Five hundred hours in one hundred days, employed upon 
an object where neither wit, genius, nor imagination can have the 
smallest exercise, and going cheek by jowl with a heavy recluse, 
called privatissimum* and this labour to be undertaken by the 
sprightly, brilliant, amiable philosopher whom I know and you, 
at present, know not and this work to be done at a fixed time by a 
man that hates restraint, and that in conjunction with a sublime 
Professor who talks of guilders, rascal counters, 6 profits, &c. and 
by a man who loves change, wants often relaxation, and is subject 
to low spirits! Surely you joke or dream or are inspired with 
a portion of the spirits of Cujas, 7 who has appeared to you in a vision 

4 "Know thyself 7 : the Latin equivalent of Boswell's favourite Greek tag 
yvuBi creavrov. 

5 The sentence would be more intelligible if these two words had followed 
"object." The "heavy recluse" is Professor Trotz. 

6 Debased coin, quoting Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, IV. ii. 79-80: "When 
Marcus Brutus grows so covetous To lock such rascal counters from his 
friends." In Holland at this time all coins except the local ones were accepted 
at the intrinsic value of the metal they contained (Thomas Nugent, The 
Grand Tour, 3d ed., 1778, i. 51). 

* Jacques Cujas (1522-1590), French jurist, exponent of the historical method 
in the teaching of law. 

7 April 1 764 209 

and taken the advantage of some foggy night, when the atmos- 
phere loaded with heavy vapours has damped the wings of fancy, 
&c., &c., &c,, &c. 

Merriment aside, I should mightily approve of your plan were 
it to be executed with ease, liberty, and a proper mixture of amuse- 
ment, Jpolite literature, and light summer reading. The plan is 
good, must be useful and highly so to yourself, and when executed) 
will be a valuable present to the Republic of Letters; but if you thus 
measure your daily labour, as a weaver, by the yard, I will venture 
to foretell that before twenty days of the hundred are past, you will 
be wearied, ennuye, you will begin to yawn, to grow drowsy, to 
curse plans, fixed time, measured tasks, ells of Civil Law, hundred 
guilders, profits of the edition; and tell Mr. Trotz that you are out 
of order, that your nerves are weak, your spirits low, and bid him 

(silently) go to the D My dear Boswell, the post will not 

wait. A hundred things prevented me from writing sooner. If this 
letter does not make impression, I shall send you another written 
at more leisure. In the mean time I am, with the warmest heart and 
the truest affection and esteem, ever yours, 


SUNDAY 8 APRIL. Yesterday you awaked bad. You lay abed 
till nine. You sent apology to Trotz. You was uneasy. You received 
Maclaine's letter. It gave you pleasure. You read Greek well and 
did geography. You walked in Mall and played billiards. Do so no 
more. You called on Trotz; you said, "Sollicitudinem mihi dedit 
dubitatio." You told him, u Desinam." s You was well with Hun- 
garians. . . . See objects as they really are. Be pious and constant. 
Once for all, think. You may give Trotz one hundred guilders for 
his assistance till the end of June, and more if it be published. 
Twill hold you firm. Be silent. You can finish the rest after. De- 
termine to stay at Utrecht till you're in good humour and learn 
moral discipline. Amen 

MONDAY 9 APRIL. Yesterday you awaked very bad. You got 

s "My irresolution has made me nervous I shall discontinue the scheme." 

210 g April 

up as dreary as a dromedary Supped Hahn's; grew well. This 

day, send to Brown: Greek three. Say to Trotz you'll go on by de- 
grees, and so be content and easy. Mem., you're a man 

[Boswell to Johnston] 

Utrecht, 9 April 1 764 

MY DEAR FRIEND, On the eight of March I received your last 
letter, which contained the melancholy news of my poor boy's 
death. It has affected me more than you could have imagined. I had 
cherished a fond idea. I had warmed my heart with parental affec- 
tion. I had formed many agreeable plans for the young Charles. 
All is now wrapped in darkness. All is gone. My dear Sir! let me 
repeat my sincere sentiments of friendship. Let me again assure 
you that you are ever dear to me. Your care of my child while he 
lived was always tender. It showed your attachment to his father. 
I much approve of your having given him a decent interment and 
of the company that you selected. Cairnie is a worthy fellow. I have 
been very much obliged to him. I retain a very grateful sense of his 
kindness, and wish much for an opportunity of being of use to him. 
I have not written to him since I came abroad. I did not choose to 
put him to the expense of postage. Pray assure him fully of my 
sentiments towards him. Let me know what his schemes are, and 

find out if my writing to him is expected 

My jaunt during the Christmas vacation produced some altera- 
tion on my mind. When I returned to Utrecht, I had not the same 
internal firmness that I had carried from it, I began to think that 
my resolute philosophy was a mere imagination which I had 
formed in the sober retreat of a provincial town; that I had indeed 
acted from this imagination and might have continued to do so, 
had I remained in the same uniform circumstances as when I first 
9 Cairnie was a doctor who had transmitted to Charles's mother the sums 
Boswell allowed her, and had delivered the child; he had also put him to 
nurse, and had a general oversight of his health. Boswell was attracted to him 
because he had been an active Jacobite, and had had many interesting 

9 April 1764 211 

framed the idea. But, alas! a short change, a transient view of the 
brilliant Hague, a little tumble in the real world, shook off the 
fascination and showed me that I was still the same weak-minded 
being as ever. 

I fell desperately in love with a young, beautiful, amiable, and 
rich widow. This passion tore and hurt my mind. I was seized with 
a severe cold. My nerves were relaxed, my blood was thickened. 
Low spirits approached. I heard of Charles's death. It shocked me. 
It filled me with gloomy reflections on the uncertainty of life, and 
that every post might bring me accounts of the departure of those 
whom I most regarded. I saw all things as so precarious and vain 
that I had no relish of them, no views to fill my mind, no motives to 
incite me to action. I groaned under those dismal truths which 
nothing but a lucky oblivion prevents from weighing down the 
most vivacious souls. Black melancholy again took dominion over 
me. All my old dreary and fretful feelings recurred. I was much 
worse on this account, that after my first severe fit on coming to 
Utrecht, I really believed that I had conquered spleen for ever, and 
that I should never again be overcome by it I lived in this persua- 
sion for four months. I had my dull hours. But I considered myself 
as a soldier. I endured such hardships; but I kept my post. 

You may conceive what I felt on the sad conviction that my 
hopes were fanciful. Oh, how I was galled! Oh, how did I despise 
myself! I must mention one circumstance which is very hard. 
When I am attacked by melancholy, I seldom enjoy the comforts of 
religion. A future state seems so clouded, and my attempts towards 
devotion are so unsuitable, that I often withdraw my mind from 
divine subjects lest I should communicate to the most sublime and 
cheering doctrines my own imbecility and sadness. In short, for 
some weeks past I have suffered much 

I shall be here till July or August. My route after that is not yet 
fixed. You shall hear it particularly. Come, my friend, let us both 
determine to be manly; let us "resist the devil and he will flee far 
from us." 1 Here is my plan. I am to travel. I am to return to 

1 James, 4. 7. 

212 Q April 1764 

Scotland, put on the gown, remain advocate or get into Parliament, 
and at last be comfortably settled in a good office. I hope also to do 
good at Auchinleck. The great point is to be always employed, as 
my worthy father says. Upon this principle he has always been 
happy. Long may he be so. 

I have now proper ideas of religion. That is the most important 
article indeed. I am determined to act my part with vigour, and I 
doubt not to have a reward. My mind will go always stronger by 
discipline. Even this last attack has not been unrepelled by me. I 
really believe that these grievous complaints should not be vented; 
they should be considered as absurd chimeras, whose reality should 
not be allowed in words. One thing I am sure of, that if a man can 
believe himself well, he will be really so. The dignity of human 
nature is a noble preservative of the soul. Let us consider ourselves 
as immortal beings, who though now in a state inferior to our facul- 
ties, may one day hope to exult in the regions of light and glory. 
My dear Johnston, let us retain this splendid sentiment. Let us take 
all opportunities of elevating our minds by devotion, and let us 
indulge the expectation of meeting in heaven. But, at the same 
time, let us do our best in the state where GOD has placed us. Let us 
imitate the amiable Pitfour. Who is a better member of society? 
Yet who is a greater saint? 

Write to me very fully. I will disdain to own that the melan- 
choly fiend can get the better of me. I even hesitated if I should 
inform you of this last conflict. But to my friend I will own every 
weakness. My great loss 2 is an inconstancy of mind. I never view 
things in the same light for a month together. Are you so? ... This 
letter carries its own apology. Write soon and give me full advices, 
and put my future life in Britain in agreeable colours. I have need 
of your assistance. May GOD bless you, my dear friend, prays yours 



TUESDAY i o APRIL. Yesterday you was dreary. You could read 

none but hour of Greek You told la Veuve, "I could not bring 

2 "Lack" a usage that seems very old-fashioned for 1764. 

10 April 1764 213 

myself to confess the truth, and here it is. 3 1 adore you, but I would 
not marry you for anything in the world. My feelings have 
changed." MME GEELVINCK. "You are very frank." BOSWELL. "But 
I can see you sometimes?" MME GEELVINCK. "Yes." In short, 
perdidi diem.* I did nothing. This day, rouse up: two or three hours 
Erskine, French version, journal. Swear yield not to idle spleen 

[c. i o APRIL. FRENCH THEME] I believe there have been very 
few Englishmen who have wanted so much to learn French as I, 
and I believe too that there have been very few of them who have 
made more rapid progress in that language than I have. It is not 
necessary to recapitulate the means by which I have advanced to 
the point where I now stand. One would find it very tiresome to 
hear me tell of my themes every morning, of the two hours a day 
that I have read French books, and of the foreign companies in 
which I have tried to profit all I could. I confess, however, that I do 
not speak French correctly. It is the common f ault of all my coun- 
trymen. Mademoiselle de Zuylen once said to me, "You English- 
men never respect the tenses or the genders, or any distinctions of 
that sort, although you have learned them in Latin." I laughed and 
tried to turn the matter into a jest. All the same, I could not but feel 
that I was very much in the wrong, and that I was almost in the 
same case as an old Englishwoman who breaks all the rules of 
grammar and makes a ludicrous hodge-podge of crippled sentences. 
I must therefore apply myself sedulously to the minutiae, so to 
speak, of the French language. I must not give in to my indolent 
and negligent humour. No, I will not give in. I am resolved to write 
two pages carefully every day, and for each mistake that I make in 
grammar, I bind myself to pay a fine of a sou to the poor 

WEDNESDAY ii APRIL. Yesterday you got up as miserable as 
a being could be. All was insipid and dreary. But, blockhead that 
you are, have you not experienced this five hundred times? And 
can you not, as Sir William Temple says, "let such fits pass and 
return to yourself?" 5 Remember this. Do no follies. Do the duties 

8 "Je ne pouvois pas me confier et voici." 

* "I lost a day," a famous remark of the Emperor Titus. 5 See p. 123 n. 3. 

214 *i April 1764 

of a Man. Keep your affairs in a good creditable situation, and so 
have comfort, and joy when well. Swear this and retenue, and you 
may defy the fiend. You read Greek well. You played billiards . . . 
You grew quite well But you laboured not enough. This day, 
French version 6 and two hours translation, morning; Greek, geog- 
raphy; Zelide, four; home six and translation and Voltaire till nine. 
You'll leave Utrecht with character. Monday and Tuesday, jour- 
nal. Wednesday, Hague. Rise early to brace nerves. Think not to 
whore except very 7 


Sure, of all clubs that ever yet were seen, 

The strangest club is that where I have been. 

It was indeed a truly precious sight 

To me who in rich ridicule delight. 

Say, is it possible to laugh too much 

At twelve or fourteen young untoward Dutch, 

Who come together duly once a week 

The English language horridly to speak, 

Mount on a stove a bowl of punch and rum, 

And British airs without compassion hum? 

THURSDAY 12 APRIL. Yesterday you was still disordered. You 
had many changes. You received letter from Madame Spaen. That 
roused you and put you in mind that you are "Boswell of Auchin- 
leck." You read your Greek well You drank tea with Peterson; do 
so no more; 'tis low. 3 You passed the evening at home till nine, and 
by writing kept off dreary thoughts. You supped English Society. 9 

* As a matter of fact, the "French version" had almost ceased. Between 30 
March and 20 April he wiote only seven pages, most of which are printed 

7 He did not finish the phrase, and struck out the qualification, probably as 
soon as he had written it. 

8 Peterson (presumably a Scandinavian) was a member of the Literary 
Society. Why Boswell thought his company "low" does not appear. 

9 The club of "young untoward Dutch" described above. 

12 April 1764 215 

You had no pleasure in life, and your religion was dark. Yet you 
was gay, and sung. You are a fine fellow. You fight bravely. This 
day, much Erskine and Voltaire. Mem. Sir David [Dalrymple], 
nor be idle. Mem. retenue, and even softly with Maclaine. 1 No dire 

[Received 1 1 April, Madame de Spaen to Boswell. 
Original in French] 

The Hague, 10 April 1 764 

SIR: Was it not a little through pride that you honoured me 
with a letter? Was it not to show me the great progress which you 
have made in the French language? Truly, I was astonished at it; 
and if I had been so indiscreet as to show your letter to scholars or to 
men of fashion, it would certainly not have been to get it deciph- 
ered nor to laugh at it. No, Sir, it would have been to get you ad- 
mired for having mastered the language in so short a time, even to 
its delicacy and energy. This phrase "proud bashfulness" 2 is a good 
proof of what I have just been saying. I agree also with you in 
thinking well of the "battalion," &c. 

Whatever may have been your motive, the result has given me 
much pleasure, since it has caused you to begin a correspondence, 
the wit of which I foresee, Sir, will all be on your side. I do not wish 
to deceive you and so confess candidly that I feel sure my scribbling 
will bore you. I have neither a lively imagination nor the gift of 
expressing myself well. One or the other is necessary for making 
a literary correspondence amusing and interesting. After what I 
have just said, you will decide whether you want my replies; but 
as for your letters, I demand them of you, even with eagerness, 
having a lively desire to see the remarks you will make on each 
country and people. If you have made any on my countrymen, you 
would oblige me greatly if you would let me see them. I believe 
they would be very judicious and even impartial. Nothing gives 

1 "Go slow in opening your mind even to Maclaine." 

2 "De la modestie orgueilleuse." 

2i6 11 April 1764 

me greater pleasure than to see the people of Holland judged in 

this fashion. 

I congratulate Mademoiselle de Zuylen and you, Sir, for being 
good friends; neither of you can fail to profit by the relationship. 
That amiable young lady proves that wit and beauty adorn each 
other reciprocally; and that there is no truth in the accusation that 
all pretty women neglect the former so as to occupy themselves 
solely with their faces. I am not surprised at all you say concerning 
her. A great many people think as you do. But what does surprise 
me is that you do not say a single word concerning a certain charm- 
ing widow. I am, however, assured that she has found favour in 
your eyes, that she has even made a very lively impression on you. 
Might that not make you stay longer in Holland? Certain attach- 
ments sometimes upset many a project: witness Lord Fordwich, 
who in spite of all his promises and the anxious desires of his family 
to have him home, cannot resolve to quit Florence. Something, 
however, has just happened which may change his way of think- 
ing a little. It is said that the Duke of York has taken a fancy to the 
lady \vho has bound my Lord in such strong chains. If he is sacri- 
ficed, anger perhaps will accomplish what reason could not. I 
heartily hope so. 3 

I hope, Sir, that you will not expect me to reply to all the kind 
and obliging things you have said to prove that you enjoyed your 
visit to The Hague. If our house contributed to your pleasure, be 
persuaded that we thought the advantage was all on our side, in 

3 Lord Fordwich was son and heir to Earl Cowper. "The third Earl Cowper, 
who had gone to travel in his father's life, fell in love at Florence with a 
married lady, and could not be prevailed on by the most earnest entreaties of 
his dying father to come to England. He continued there for many years after 
the death of his father and the extinction of his own passion; married an 
English young gentlewoman there, and in the year 1781 sent his children by 
her to England, without coming himself." (Note by Horace Walpole on a 
letter to Sir Horace Mann, 13 November 1765. Mann's letter, which Walpole 
is answering, identifies the married lady as Maria Maddalena de' Medici, 
Marchesa Corsi. Information kindly furnished by Dr. George Lam of the 
editorial staff of the Yale Edition of Horace Walpole's Correspondence.) 

11 April 1764 217 

your having been willing to give us the pleasure of your company. 
If your plan to tour Germany still holds, I hope you will come and 
see us at Cleves. I shall repeat the invitation two weeks hence in 
Utrecht, through which I plan to pass on the way to Bellevue. In 
the mean time I have one favour to ask of you, and that is not to 
show my letters to any one whatsoever. My self-respect demands 
that absolutely; and by granting it you will oblige infinitely her 
who has the honour to be, Sir, your most humble and obedient 


I have said nothing concerning Monsieur de Spaen. He is at 
his garrison, and is in excellent health. 

FRIDAY 13 APRIL. Yesterday you awaked shocked, having 
dreamt you was condemned to be hanged. You lay dozing long. 
You was so sad that old Cirkz bid you not take thought. You was 
weak and mean and childish and infidel. At dinner you was dis- 
gusted. After it, you could not bear Brown's saying, "Give my 
service to General." You must fortify against these little rubs. You 
can do it. You saw Miss Stewart's marriage in news. It galled you. 4 
You walked, just as at worst at Auchinleck. Oh! Oh 1 You supped 

General Tuyll's, fine This day, rouse. Mem., you've not 

owned. If so, you do no harm. Youll be strong. Be on guard. 

SATURDAY 14 APRIL. Yesterday you was still amazingly 
gloomy. However, you said nothing. You played at billiards with 
Carron, and had him at coffee. But owned nothing. You went at 
seven to Monsieur de Zuylen's. You played partie, you grew well. 
You supped between Zelide and Madame Geelvinck. You talked of 
misery, but kept secret. You tried to sit up. But it won't do in 
Holland. This day, several pages of Erskine and some journal. 
Resolve: be busy and recover mind. Take no step, and nought 

* "Edinburgh, March 30. Monday Sir William Maxwell, of Springkell, in 
Scotland, Bart., was married to Miss Stewart, only dauerhter of Sir Michael 
Stewart, of Blackball, Bart." (London Chronicle, 3 April 1764). Sir William 
was a cousin of BoswelTs. 

2i8 14 April 1764 

[Received 14 April, Lord Auchinleck to Boswell] 

Auchinleck, 2 April 1 764 

MY DEAR SON, Yours of the 20th of March came to hand on 
Friday. I looked for it with impatience, as I had not heard from you 
for a month. I entreat you not to let again so great an interval be 
between your letters, as we are, you may be sure, anxious to hear 
from you. There is no necessity among friends to wait till materials 
cast up for a long letter. Cicero, whose Epistles surpass anything of 
that kind yet published, has sometimes to his friend no more than, 
"Si tu vales, bene est; ego valeo." 5 

Your letter gave me great concern when it came, though I must 
find fault with you for concealing from me so long the distress you 
was under. Be assured you have no friend can sympathize so much 
with you as I do. GOD ALMIGHTY, describes his pity for mankind by 
comparing it to that of an earthly father; and my experience in the 
world puts it in my power to suggest things may be of use to you 
under every distress. I have the greatest feeling for you under these 
melancholy fits you are sometimes attacked with, but for your com- 
fort know that numbers who have been subject to this distress in a 
much greater degree have made a good and an useful figure in life. 
You are not therefore to despond or despair; on the contrary, you 
must arm yourself doubly against them, as the poet directs: "Tu 
ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito." 6 Neither are you to imag- 
ine that variety of company and of diversions is the proper cure. 
I can assure you from the authority of severals 7 very sensible people 
who were subject to this disorder that it is just the reverse. It is like 
an opiate which allays the trouble for a little, but that is all; the 
trouble bursts out afterwards with double force. The only certain 
cure is to acquire the knowledge of as many things that you may 
constantly command as possible, for this is clear: that idleness to 
those who have a vicious turn is the mother of all manner of vice, 

5 "If you are well, good; I am well.'* 

e "Do not succumb to misfortunes, but march the more boldly against them" 

(Virgil, Aeneid, VI. 95) . 7 A Scotticism. 

14 April 1764 219 

and to those who have a virtuous turn, it commonly produces 
melancholy and gloom. The point therefore is still to be busy at 
something, and then melancholy cannot find a lodging. 

My worthy father, whom you justly notice had a melancholic 
turn, was never troubled with it in Session time. Business drove it 
away. In the vacation, indeed, as he had not acquired tastes for 
amusing himself to fill up the vacancies in his mind, melancholy 
frequently got hold of him. My constitution, blessed be GOD, is 
good, but when I happen to be from home and ill set, 8 1 am as un- 
happy as anybody indeed. When I am at home, whether in town 
or country, the case is different, for when in Edinburgh the Session 
business and now and then at a spare hour Horace, Anacreon, 
Fingal, Lady Mary Wortley, and the like come readily in to amuse. 
And on Sunday good old Erasmus and Bishop Latimer are my 
entertainment and instructors. 

As for your modern polemic writers, essayers, &c., I know noth- 
ing of them. When I was young, I read sundry of these perform- 
ances, and observed that, prompted by vanity, they endeav- 
oured to strike out no path not tending to make men more useful 
or giving them any desire to be so. 9 1 therefore returned to the good 
old stagers who had stood the test of ages, and considered the mod- 
ern authors (a very few excepted) to be like almanacs, which go 
out of request when they lose their new face. 

When I come to the country, my understanding planting gives 
me a taste for it that is my business; and in bad days, such as we 
have had mostly since we came out here, I go up to the library, 
sort my books, look at my medals and natural curiosities, and am 
quite happy. I have always recommended to you to acquire a taste 
for planting and gardening, and you'll find it of the greatest use. 
In short, the more of these tastes you acquire, so much the better. 
And it is in vain to say that a taste is natural and not to be acquired. 
The last is undoubtedly the case: practice and habit is all. 

8 "Out of sorts." 

9 Lord Auchinleck has got in an extra negative. Read "to strike out no path 
tending," &c. 

220 H April 1 7 6 4 

The same post that brought yours brought me a most obliging 
letter from Monsieur Sommelsdyck, who, I am glad to find, writes 
of you with regard. I have got his great-grandfather's charter of 
naturalisation in Scotland elegantly wrote by Mr. George Frazer, 
and have got it signed by the Deputy Director of the Chancery, so 
that it bears faith as much as the principal. 10 It goes to you to the 
care of Mr. Davidson by the first ship, and along with it Erskine's 
Institutes. . . . You may open up the box which is addressed for 
Mr. Sommelsdyck and read over the paper and then put it up 
again. He is anxious to have it, as he writes me. In the little box 
with Erskine's Institutes are two or three Session papers, one wrote 
by your friend H. Dundas. 1 

If you incline to go to The Hague for two-three days at Easter, 
it won't be amiss; and as you have clothes, the expense can be but 
a trifle. 

As to news in this country, I shall mention three marriages: 
Mr. Eraser (young Strichen) to Miss Menzies, a niece of Culdares; 
Sir William Maxwell (Springkell) to Miss Stewart, Sir Michael's 
daughter (both these are over); and Sir R. Mackenzie to Miss 
Colquhoun, which I formerly mentioned, but it is not to be for 
some days yet. Your Dutch wit and Dutch widow are not so easily 
catched as our Scots lasses. 2 

I go the North Circuit this season. Lord Prestongrange is my 
colleague; but, poor man, he is gone for Bath in a very declining 

10 "So that it has as much legal force as the original document." 

1 To spur Boswell on, Lord Auchinleck reminds him that his younger con- 
temporary and classmate in college, Henry Dundas, has already been ad- 
mitted to the bar and is in practice. As a matter of fact, he was not a "friend"; 
Boswell and Temple had always disliked him for what they considered his 
coarse ambition. He was appointed Solicitor General at twenty-four, Lord 
Advocate for Scotland at thirty-three, and in middle age established himself 
as the political dictator of all Scotland. 

2 Lord Auchinleck had wished Boswell to marry Miss Colquhoun; and, as 
we have seen, Boswell had himself entertained the thought of marrying Miss 


state. Johnny goes with me, and I leave him with the regiment, 
which is at Fort Augustus. 

As to the course you should steer when the college is over, and 
when I hope you shall emulate Sir David in reputation, I am at 
some loss what to advise. In general, I must tell you that travelling 
is a very useless thing, further than for one to say they have 
travelled; and therefore think you should spend very little time 
that way. You may think and advise whether it would be best to 
go through some of the German courts or go through Flanders 
and see Paris. The Prince of Brunswick, the Prince of Badcn-Dur- 
lach, and the King of Prussia Lord Marischal recommends; and I 
can get him (whom I am to see at Aberdeen) to recommend to 
them all; and Mr. Mitchell, my friend at Berlin, will treat you 
kindly. 3 1 could wish to see you 'gainst winter at home. I shall be 
at this place till the 5th of May, at Perth from the gth to the 15, 
at Aberdeen from the 18 to the 24, and then go to Inverness. Pray 
write me directly on receipt of this. Your mother is some better 
since she came out. She and Johnny salute you. I am your affec- 
tionate father, 


SUNDAY 15 APRIL. Yesterday, after late sitting up, you rose 
with blood changed: all well, all gay. . . . You received excellent 
letter from worthy father, who sympathized with your distress 
and gave you noble ideas. His mention of return roused you. You 
read Greek fine. You was cheerful at dinner, and after it told one 
or two stories and heard plan of travel, which mark. . . . Brown 
said you'd be better of travelling, and he'd mention some things. 
Then you was at concert (Hahnus), and had Hungarians, 4 fine. 

3 Lord Marischal is characterized below, p. 268. Andrew Mitchell (knighted 
in 1765) was British envoy to Frederick the Great. He had studied at both 
Edinburgh and Leyden. 

4 Possibly "Hungarian": the manuscript has merely Hung. See p. 172 n. 8. 
But as this was a night \\hen the society for Latin conversation was supposed 
to meet, he probably here means the entire group. 

222 15 April 1764 

This day copy Zelide, or write some journal and Erskine. Lose not 
Plan. Mem. your fine situation here . . . Think if GOD really for- 
bids girls. Dine not this week. Apply French. 

MONDAY 16 APRIL. Yesterday you was so-so. You passed the 
day in reading and writing. At church you was dismal. After it, 
bad, and played at billiards, Resolve no more of that. You wrote 
letter to Temple, and grew quite well. This day send to Brown that 
you'll read Greek at twelve. Tell him you was really not well. 
Besides, 'tis Holy Week. Be grave. Journal neat. . . . 

[Boswell to Temple] 

Utrecht, 1 7 April 1 764 

MY DEAR TEMPLE, My last letter has no doubt given you some 
uneasiness, as it contained accounts of a return of that gloomy 
distress from which I had flattered myself that I should for the 
rest of my life be free. But, alas! I have sadly felt that my hopes 
were vain, I have been almost as miserable as ever. I wrote a folio 
page and a half last night, relating the dismal thoughts which 
disturbed my mind. But I found myself gravely rounding most 

solemn periods of the wildest absurdity 5 I am now employing 

an hour in which "Boswell is himself" to write to my dear Temple; 
and I please myself by thinking that what I write may be of serv- 
ice to us both 

You tell me you fear you shall not have a competency. Think, 
my dear Temple! how these words must affect me. And yet, will 
you believe that upon reflection, I cannot feel much pain on that 
account? I am almost certain of having a handsome fortune, and 
have no notion that you should not share it with me. Be assured 
that I am sincere when I talk thus. You must remember our con- 
versation in the Temple garden. True disinterested, celestial friend- 
ship is rarely found. But that it really exists you and I afford a 

5 He destroyed this letter, wrote another shortly after midnight (that is, very 
early on the morning of 17 April), and a third later in the day. 

17 April 1764 223 

certain proof. Believe me, my dearest Temple I wish you saw 
the generous tear which now fills my eye believe me, my friend, 
that I have an entire confidence in you, and that the sacred flame 
is never extinguished in my breast. I have not words to express my 
feelings. I fear not to write to you in this strong incorrect manner. 
My heart speaks. . . . 

Pray, are you subject to this mutability which ruins me? Give 
me your advice how I may cure it; or must Time do it by gradual 
operation? My ideas alter above all with respect to my own char- 
acter. Sometimes I think myself good for nothing, and sometimes 
the finest fellow in the world. You know I went abroad determined 
to attain a composed, learned, and virtuous character. I have sup- 
ported this character to admiration. No Briton since Sir David 
Dalrymple ever met with such a reception at Utrecht. I wish only 
that you could have my character from the people here. Certain 
it is that I have for seven months conducted myself in a manly and 
genteel manner. "All is well, then," one would say. It is so in all 
appearance. But I, who am conscious of changes and waverings 
and weaknesses and horrors, can I look upon myself as a man of 

I have kept my mind to myself. I have only owned that I was 
a little low-spirited, but uttered none of the distracted reveries 
which tormented my brain. Rouse me to ardour, my friend. Impart 
to me a portion of your calm firmness. 

I ask you this. If I persist in study, and never mention my 
splenetic chimeras, am I not then a man? Can I not review my life 
with pride? Counsel me. I will swear to observe the precepts of my 
friend. Tomorrow I go to The Hague for a week. Let us correspond 
frequently. I am ever yours, 


I am vexed that my paper is filled up. I could talk to you this 
hour yet. I shall probably write again from The Hague. 

Give me your impartial opinion of your friend, and your best 

224 * 

Read this letter first.* 

Remember me in the kindest manner to Nicholls, to Claxton, 
and to Bob, when you write to him. 

My dear Temple! what a friend have you got in me! Write 
fully and furnish me with agreeable ideas. If I can preserve an 
external uniformity, it is much. I am anxious to hear from you. 

[Boswell to Temple] 

Utrecht, 1 7 April 1 764 

MY DEAREST TEMPLE, You must not grudge a shilling ex- 
traordinary this post. Were I now in London, you should be put to 
much more expense. I would hurry you away to Drury Lane or to 
Covent Garden, to Ranelagh or to the tavern. Perhaps a chariot 
might be ordered to the Temple Gate, and we might drive with gay 
velocity to Richmond or to Windsor. You see my foreign airs. 
Nothing will serve me but a chariot. It is so long since I have seen 
a post-chaise that I have almost forgot there is such a machine. 

Could I but see my worthy friend at this moment! Could I but 
behold the wonder and pleasure which spreads over his counte- 
nance! But sea and land conspire to separate us. It is impossible for 
me to talk to you. I therefore sit down to write. My letter of last 
night, which is enclosed in this, is the sedate production of a man 
just recovered from a severe fit of melancholy. The letter which 
you are now reading is the spontaneous effusion of a man fully 
restored to life and to joy, whose blood is bounding through his 
veins, and whose spirits are at the highest pitch of elevation. Good 
heaven! what is Boswell? Last night he was himself. Today he is 
more than himself. 

Let me think. Am I indeed the same being who was lately so 
wretched, to whom all things appeared so dismal, who imagined 
himself of no manner of value? Now I am happy. All things appear 
cheerful. I am a worthy, an amiable, and a brilliant man. I am 

6 This and the two following postscripts were added after the letter following 
this had been written, or at least after Boswell had decided to write it. 

17 April 1764 225 

at a foreign university town. I am advancing in knowledge. I am 
received upon the very best footing by the people of rank in this 
country. My days of dissipation and absurdity are past. I am now 
pursuing the road of propriety. I am acting as well as my friends 
could wish. I am forming into a character which may do honour 
to the ancient family which I am born to represent. 

But, my dear friend! I feel something more. I feel a glow of 
delight. I feel a real ecstasy. You have seen me thus. At times we 
have both been so. Our souls have mingled in exalted friendship, 
in transport divine. Let us recall such splendid moments. Let us 
hope for many such in a future world. The frame which I am now 
in is to me a convincing evidence of the immortality of the soul. 
Infinite Deity, from whom I derived my being! I doubt not that 
this ethereal spirit shall ever live, shall be more and more refined, 
and shall at last arrive at a state of supreme felicity. 

What think you of me now, Temple? Was there ever such a 
change? Two days ago, I should have considered it as absolutely 
impossible. All I expected was to be tolerably patient. I dreamt not 
of the least glimpse of joy. I have an entire new set of ideas. I look 
back with astonishment on my history since I came abroad, and 
cannot conceive how it has happened. 

Thus I explain it. I have constitutionally a tender and a gloomy 
mind. After being convinced that idleness and folly rendered me 
unhappy, I determined to alter my conduct. But my enthusiasm 
determined too much. I proposed to myself a plan so very severe 
that my feeble powers were crushed in attempting to put it in 
execution. Hence was I thrown into that deplorable state which 
my dismal letter from Rotterdam informed you of. You know how 
I picked up resolution and returned to Utrecht. You know how I 
have struggled, and how much I have been able to do. But still a 
black cloud hung over me. Still I was but a distempered creature, 
who strove to make the best he could of a wretched existence. I had 
great merit in this. I stood the most grievous shocks. 

Now the cloud is removed. All is clear around me. Upon a retro- 
spective view of that time which I have passed with so much anxiety 

226 7 April 1764 

and so much horror, it looks like a dream. What had I to fear? What 
cause of terror existed then which does not equally exist at present? 
Yet let me remember this truth: I am subject to melancholy, and 
of the operations of melancholy, reason can give no account Ah! 
Temple! is it not morally certain that I shall ere long be as much 
depressed as ever? Shall I not again groan beneath a weight of woe? 
Shall I not despise this very letter which conveys to you the 
accounts of my exceeding elevation? Perhaps not. Perhaps I shall 
never again be melancholy. This is possible; much more so than 
those chimeras which I have shuddered to think of. Formerly I 
have had vivacious days. But I had no solid cause to hope for their 
continuance. My mind had no stable principles. I was the mere 
slave of caprice. Now I can calmly revolve my plan of conduct. I 
can "know myself a Man!" 7 

My dearest friend! let this letter give you pleasure. Am I not 
acting properly in writing to you an account of this prodigious 
change? I have acquired a degree of reserve. During my season of 
darkness, I was able to conceal my complaints. I find it more dif- 
ficult to conceal my joy. To you, my friend, I can freely disclose 

Now when I am clear and happy, let me renew my good reso- 
lutions. Let me above all maintain an uniformity of behaviour. It is 
certain that I am subject to melancholy. It is the distemper of our 
family. I am equally subject to excessive high spirits. Such is my 
constitution. Let me study it, and let me maintain an equality of 
mind. You have this post a variety of circumstances laid before you. 
Consider them, my friend, and send me a long letter of kind advice. 

I wrote to my father an account of my late dreary state of mind. 
. . . Worthy man! I hope to give him satisfaction. He is perhaps too 
anxiously devoted to utility. He tells me that he thinks little time 

Teach me to love and to forgive, 

Exact my own defects to scan, 

What others are, to feel, and know myself a Man. 

Thomas Gray, Hymn to Adversity, conclusion. 

17 April 1764 227 

should be spent in travelling; and that he would have me make a 
tour through some of the German courts, or through Flanders and 
part of France, and return to Scotland against winter. You will 
agree with me in thinking this scheme greatly too confined. I laid 
my account with travelling for at least a couple of years after leav- 
ing this. I must however compound matters. I shall insist upon 
being abroad another winter, and so may pursue the following 

I shall set out from Utrecht about the middle of June. I shall 
make the tour of The Netherlands, from thence proceed to Ger- 
many, where I shall visit the Courts of Brunswick and Liineburg, 
and about the end of August arrive at Berlin. I shall pass a month 
there. In the end of September I shall go to the Court of Baden-Dur- 
lach, from thence through Switzerland to Geneva. I shall visit Rous- 
seau and Voltaire, and about the middle of November shall cross the 
Alps and get fairly into Italy. I shall there pass a delicious winter, 
and in April shall pass the Pyrenees and get into Spain, remain 
there a couple of months, and at last come to Paris. Upon this plan, I 
cannot expect to be in Britain before the autumn of 1 765. Pray give 
me your opinion of it. I think it is an excellent plan. Perhaps I 
allow myself too little time for it. However, I may perhaps prevail 
with my father to allow me more time. When a son is at a distance, 
he can have great influence upon an affectionate parent. I would 
by no means be extravagant; I would only travel genteelly. 

Miss Stewart is now Lady Maxwell. So much for that scheme, 
which I consulted you upon some months ago. There are two ladies 
here, a young, handsome, amiable widow with 4000 a year, and 
Mademoiselle de Zuylen, who has only a fortune of 20,000. She 
is a charming creature. But she is a savante and a bel esprit, and 
has published some things. She is much my superior. One does not 
like that. One does not like a widow, neither. You won't allow me 
to yoke myself here? You will have me married to an English- 

I have now written my most intimate thoughts. Tomorrow I 

228 IT April 1764 

go to The Hague for a week. GOD bless you. Write soon. I ever 

remain, your most affectionate friend, 


WEDNESDAY 1 8 APRIL. Yesterday you continued in a kind of 
delirium. You wrote all day. At night you was at Monsieur de 
Zuylen's. You said one might trace resemblance in a young child 
as in a piece of wood, or a cinder, or the head of a staff. 8 Zelide 
was nervish. You saw she would make a sad wife and propagate 
wretches. You reflected when you came home that you have not 
made enough use of your time. You have not been active enough, 
learned enough Dutch, enough of manners. The months which 
remain, employ with more vigour. Last night you did not write 
lines. 9 You are only to do so when in humour. Swear this morning 
to keep Plan. Have a care. You may grow idle. Stop. Resolve copy 
one or two pages [of] Erskine each day, besides reading and writ- 
ing French. Shun indolence. At Leyden make out plan for Hague. 
Only be retenu. . . . 

THURSDAY 19 APRIL. Yesterday you got up with much reluc- 
tance. You was dreary in bark with Mademoiselle Vernett, who 

told stories of religious melancholy You came to Leyden in 

good time. At five, went to Monsieur Gronovius; had coffee, fine; 
walked to Garden. 1 Ideas altered; was calmly happy, yet remem- 
bered melancholy You went and drank wine with him. Came 

to inn, wrote Erskine, was quite clear, lively, ambitious. Forgot 
all your spleen. See today how you do. Johnson. Plan. Maclaine 
to sup neat. Yet be on guard. 

FRIDAY 20 APRIL. (Good Friday. Be holy and fine, English 

2 ) Yesterday, after sleeping with clothes on and having a 

night all glowing with fiery vivacious blood, you got up well, 
breakfasted with Gordon, and was equal to him in vivacity, and far 

above him in force You visited Abraham Gronovius once more, 

and was fine; promised white port, and to see him again. You was 

8 That is, one may imagine a resemblance. 

9 Nor a memorandum in the morning, either. The ten-line verses were not 
resumed until i October 1764. * The Botanic Garden. 2 English Chapel. 

20 April 1764 229 

rather too high and looked with astonishment at Leyden, where 
you had been so horrid, and loved it for Father's sake. Came pleas- 
ant to Hague; quite new ideas; entered Marechal as young man of 
fashion. Sent to Maclaine; had him and Richardson both to wait on 
you. Quite man of respect. noble! In delicious spirits. This day, 
cards. At ten, Yorke, fine. After, Sommelsdyck, Spaen, Maasdam, 
De Wilhem . . . Have a care. Don't seem altered. Have Temple's 
uniformity; and if you're clear, girl . . . 3 

[20 APRIL. FRENCH THEME] This is the first of the days 
that I plan to spend at The Hague during the Easter vacation. I 
find this beautiful city more charming than the first time I was 
here. It was then Christmas, the most severe weather of the entire 
year. The trees were all leafless. The fields were all brown. But 
now the trees are well leafed out and the fields are vividly green. 
As for the air, I cannot say much. The month of April is always un- 
certain, and this year it is more uncertain than usual. However, I 
imagine that we shall have fairly settled weather, if one may 
judge from Monsieur Gronovius's cat at Leyden, which (as they 
say) washed its face, and that is a certain sign of good weather. 
Besides, the sky appears clear, and there is a remarkable softness 
in the air which flatters us with the promise of fair weather. It 
is now Holy Week, so every one is in seclusion and the city does not 
have the same brilliance that it had in the winter. There are no 
plays. There are almost no assemblies. Moreover, The Hague does 
not have the charms of novelty that it had when I was here for the 
first time. 

I have dressed myself. I have gone out. I have left cards for 
many people. I have been at the Society. I was received at the 
house of Captain Reynst. I found him in undress, seated in a very- 
handsome room adorned with elegant pictures. He said to me, "Sir, 
I love to be well lodged. When one is comfortable at home, one 
stays all morning in one's lodgings. One reads, one never gets bored, 
and that is much." "Yes, Sir," I replied. "In that way one is inde- 

3 About seven words following this have been heavily deleted by Boswell 

230 20 April 1764 

pendent. One has no need of others to be amused." He continued, 
"I am not on good terms with Mademoiselle de Zuylen. I supped 
with her at Madame Degenfeld's, and we had a little dispute. We 
were speaking of a certain person, and I said in passing that there 
\vas a story about that person that was not so pretty; however, I 
had no ^ ish to say more. Mademoiselle de Zuylen said to me eager- 
ly, 'Please tell me that story/ I did so. But when I had finished, 
she said to me, 'Sir, I knew that story as well as you. But one ought 
not always to repeat everything people say.' I was a little piqued, 
and I replied, 'Mademoiselle, it was by your orders that I did it, 
and I did it in good faith. I thought you were as candid as 1. 1 have 
been the dupe of my own civility.' That was not at all pleasant. 
But really, though Mademoiselle de Zuylen has a great deal of 
wit, she tries too hard to be subtle. She was brought up at Geneva, 
where certainly there is unlimited wit among the ladies. But they 
lack good principles. They sometimes sacrifice probity to bril- 

Really, Monsieur Reynst gave me a Tar from favourable idea of 
my dear Zelide. I would give a great deal to cure myself of my 
weakness of being too much affected by the opinions of others. 
Reynst changed to some extent my idea of Zelide. However, I 
fought like her champion. I said, "That young lady makes me feel 
very humble, when I find her so much above me in wit, hi knowl- 
edge, in good sense." "Excuse me," said Reynst. "She lacks good 
sense and consequently she goes wrong; and a man who has not 
half her wit and knowledge may still be above her." I made no 
reply to that. I thought it very true, and I thought it was a good 
thing. For if it were not for that lack, Zelide would have an absolute 
power. She would have unlimited dominion over men, and would 
overthrow the dignity of the male sex. 

SATURDAY 21 APRIL. Yesterday you waked so-so; got up and 
breakfasted in fine spirits and dressed elegant and went to Yorke's; 
found Richardson pulling on surplice; was struck with Cambridge 
ideas. In chapel, had a group of fine circumstances: Hague; Am- 
bassador's chapel; Baron Winn; Hon. Charles Gordon; Richardson, 

21 April 1764 231 

son of Cambridge head. 4 Yorke was elegant, and told stories of 
Lady Findlater, who went with Duke's secretary to see Culloden, 
and mounted box; but going back made pull up blinds. "I love to 
see them killed, but not dead." Noble. My Lord, &c.: "He's my 
baastard"* . . . This day, rouse, recollect. You have done no 
harm. . . . 

SUNDAY 2 2 APRIL. Yesterday you called on Maclaine. He said 
he had not for twelve years altered his sentiments in important 

matters You was dreary, but had not time to talk of spirits 

This day (Easter) rouse. Be Johnson. You've done no harm. Be 
retenu, &c. What am I? Oho! is it so? Ill marry English lady. At 
all events, be manly, and Sir David, &c. 

MONDAY 23 APRIL. Yesterday though Easter, you got up 
quite gloomy and confused. However, you cleared and went to 
Chapel. Confess, even in Ambassador's elegant Church-of-England 
chapel, you was gloomy and fretful. Yet a good sermon and prayers 
raised your devotion, and you received sacrament seriously. After- 
wards walked with Caldwell 6 and Richardson, w r ho was quite 
Cambridge and happy. Dined inn, and had Caldwell, &c., at tea, 
and was for contingents? . . . This day, physic; resolve new resusci- 
tation Mem. Johnson. Think. Maintain character gained at 

Utrecht, nor ever rave. Mem. Father. If you whore, all ideas 

4 George Winn (later Lord Headley) was one of the barons of the Court of 
Exchequer in Scotland. The Reverend Robert Richardson's father, William 
Richardson, was Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. 

5 The "Duke" is the Duke of Cumberland, Commander-in-Chief of the Gov- 
ernment forces at Culloden. "My Lord" is presumably James Ogilvy (^1714- 
1770), sixth Earl of Findlater. If I understand Bosw ell's note of Yorke's story, 
Lord Findlater had the habit of introducing an illegitimate son in the 
singularly blunt fashion here recorded. 

6 The Reverend Samuel Caldwell, an Anglican Irishman from County Deny, 
appears to have been assistant priest in the Ambassador's chapel at The 
Hague. Boswell met him on 21 April, took to him, and ended by telling him 
all his secrets. See p. 267. 

7 That is, opposed the doctrine of necessity or predestination. 

232 24 April 1764 

TUESDAY 24 APRIL. Yesterday after physic, you was better. 
You went to Maclaine and talked to him. He said he had the spleen 
now and then. But that he always preserved himself, and knew 
'twould pass. You owned your wavering notions. He said 'twas 
vapours, and bid you read Gaubius's De morbis mentis, quoad 
medicin.* &c.; exercise, and rhubarb. But he was too rough. Then 
dined Monsieur Spaen, but a little off guard. Then multitudes of 
visits. Then Monsieur Spaen, fine. This day, jaunt. Mem. uniform- 
ity, Church of England, retenue. No marriage till English; whore 
not for fear of change. Talk still more to Maclaine, and bid him 
give you directions. But be sober. Mem., your winter at Utrecht is 
so much fixed; go on. 

WEDNESDAY 25 APRIL. Yesterday Reynst called and carried 
you to bark. You convoyed Madame Spaen to Leidschendam. You 
was drear}- and thought the journey just like a Scots journey. Took 
leave. Then Reynst and you saw Prince's Place:* pheasants, &c.; 
then breakfasted with him elegant; then Maclaine, and owned 
changes of mind and Roman Catholic, 1 after he had said, "You 
may be a Methodist, but philosophical." You read Ramsay 2 and 
was clear against Prescience; keep to this. Dined hearty Maclaine. 
. . . Bid him not mention spleen, and asked if he did not think 
worse. 3 He said, "Indeed, no"; for he had known so many so and 
never a bad man always good hearts and well-turned heads. 

8 The correct title is Sermo academicus alter de regimine mentis quod medi- 
corum est habitus, which a contemporary translation by J. Taprell, M.D. 
gives as On the Passions: or a Philosophical Discourse concerning the Duty 
and Office of Physicians in the Management and Cure of the Disorders of the 
Mind. BoswelTs own copy of this translation is in the Yale University 

9 House and surrounding grounds. The u Prince" is the Prince of Orange; 
the "Place" probably the House in the Woods. 

1 That is, "that you had once been a Roman Catholic." 

2 Andrew Michael Ramsay, Philosophical Principles of Natural and Revealed 
Religion, 1749. Ramsay (an Ayrshireman) was a Jacobite and Roman Cath- 
olic. He had served as tutor to Prince Charles Edward. 

3 Think worse of you now that he knew you were subject to melancholy. 

25 April 1764 233 

Then you walked to Scheveningen 4 with Richardson, who laughed 
at metaphysics and put you fine; then home 

FRIDAY 2 7 APRIL. Yesterday you strolled in Wood with Cald- 
well, fine morning; then sauntered, paying visits, and found your- 
self sadly unhinged. Dined ordinary, after being at Mr. Houston's 
grievous Scots. At four saw Gardes hollandais. Home all evening; 

a little Candide This day . . . exert vigour; yield not to low 

spleen. . . . Talk of white port and servant to Maclaine, also bid 
him advise studies. Swear retenu and manly, &c. If you're silent, 
you're well. Spirit and activity. 

SATURDAY 2 8 APRIL At nine you went with young Reede, 

Lord Athlone's brother, and waited on Comte de Rhoon, who was 
polite; great man of business in Dutch affairs. Said, "I shall be 
charmed to know you better," &c. You see you have acquaintance 
with the first people here. Maclaine dined with you at inn, fine, 
lively; grew well. Coffee. (Pay this or you're not gentleman.) 5 
You told him case. Said he, " 'Tis.much you know it, so just con- 
sider it as imagination, and time and reason will take it away." . . . 
Walked with Maclaine: stars, religion, future life, &c. Said he, 
"Everybody thinks well of you." This day, journal all forenoon. 
Engage not servant. You saw with Maclaine that chimeras vanish. 

[Received 28 April, Lord Auchinleck to Boswell] 

Auchinlecfc, 15 April 1764 

MY DEAR SON, I have received yours of the 23d of March and 
commend your care and attention in writing it so speedily after 
your former, as you were under the apprehension that what you 
had wrote before would give me a desponding view of your situa- 
tion; but the answer I made to your first letter would show you that 
I had no such apprehension from what you had wrote. It gave me in- 

4 A fishing-village two and a half miles from The Hague, now a great sea- 
shore resort. Boswell, like other eighteenth-century Englishmen, always uses 
the form Scheveling or Schevling. 

5 Boswell tas he freely admitted) had a lifelong tendency to narrowness. 

234 2 ^ April 1764 

deed concern to find that you had been in distress, but that did not 
appear to me strange; the change from an idle dissipated life to a 
life of application and study was so great that it could not but affect 
your spirits. Any change we make as to our course of life naturally 
has that effect. 

I remember to hear Lord Newhall tell that Dr. Cheyne, who was 
Physician at the Bath, having, by too full living, brought himself 
to that degree of corpulency that he had his coach made to open 
wholly on the side and was really become a burden to himself, 
came to the resolution to live abstemiously, and reduced his body 
thereby so much that he was obliged to be swaddled to make his 
loose skin clasp to his body. By this operation his intellectuals were 
reduced prodigiously and his spirits sunk to the greatest degree. 
However, as he had given a strict charge to his friends to keep him 
still in that abstemious way though he should alter his mind from 
the lowness of his spirits, they kept him at it; and the consequence 
was that by degrees he became inured to the new method of living 
and all his faculties, with his spirits, returned to him and he came 
out a clever agile man, and continued so with a high reputation 
and in great business till his death. 

And therefore, as I said formerly, your point is to persevere and 
by keeping your mind constantly employed, to leave no room for 
gloomy .thoughts entering your mind. Be totus in hoc? think of the 
thing you are about and of nothing else, and when you find your 
mind like to wander, write notes that will fix your attention, and 
if you be attentive to the thing you are about, there is no fear that 
anything will get access to disturb you. This is the only possible 
method to make you easy and to keep free from these splenetic fits. 
You are made with a mind fit for study, and by no means fit to have 
any ease in a dissipated idle course. The pleasures of this last are so 
unworthy of a rational thinking creature that they pall; and when 
the round of them is over, if the person have reflection, he is 
ashamed of the course he has been in and sees that there is no 
Horace, Satires, I. ix. 2 ("totus in illis"). 

28 April 1764 235 

proper enjoyment in it for a rational man. A person whose abilities 
are small of which the greatest part of mankind is composed 
can go the routine of trifling as a turnspit dog does. But you are 
not cut out for that; and it was chiefly from that reason that I 
opposed with such earnestness your Guard schemes, as I was sure 
you would soon have wearied of them and been vexed and distressed 
that, when GOD had given you faculties fit for making you useful 
in life, you had rendered yourself useless. It is our duty as well as 
our interest to improve the talents GOD gives us, in order that we 
may make a figure and be serviceable to mankind, to our friends, 
and our families. You have great natural abilities, and it is in your 
power to be useful by improving them properly. But all depends 
upon the improvement. Your being a good speaker is of no import 
if you have nothing useful to say; your having a great memory is 
nought unless it be stored with proper materials; and your acute- 
ness is nought unless it be accustomed to things of moment. I have 
in this and my last suggested all that occurs to me on this subject. 
Hoc age is the point, I do assure you. When you are at Utrecht, 
think of Utrecht and of the people of Utrecht, and wherever you 
are, let that be your rule. "I have learnt," says the inspired author, 7 
"in whatever state I am in, therewith to be content." You say you 
have not the animus aequus, but you should strive to get it and 
make the best of all situations. 8 

As to the course you are to follow after leaving Utrecht, I 
hinted my notion in my last. Travelling about from place to place 
is a thing extremely little improving except where one needs to rub 
off bashfulncss, which is not your case; but to make a little tour 
through some of the German courts may be amusing, and a stranger 

7 St. Paul, Phil. 4. 11. 

8 With reference to the motto from Horace which Lord Auchinleck had caused 
to be displayed prominently on the front of the new house he had just com- 
pleted at Auchinleck: "Quod petis hie est, Est Ulubris, animus si te non 
deficit aequus." It may be freely translated, "All you seek is here, here in the 
remoteness and quiet of Auchinleck, if you have fitted yourself with a good 
steady mind.'* 

236 28 April 1764 

is more noticed in them than at the great courts. Before you set 
out, it would not be amiss you passed some little time to improve 
your connections with your Dutch relations. The paper for Myn- 
heer Sommelsdyck and Erskine's Institutes I suppose will be with 
you before or as soon as this. Your mother and Johnny remember 
you with affection. I am your affectionate father, 


SUNDAY29 APRIL. Yesterday the Hibernians 9 breakfasted with 
you. You dined together at Yorke's; all was noble and elegant. You 
was pretty easy and grave, though miserably distressed. You got 
letter from worthy father. You was a little hurt at not being in 
right frame. You passed the evening at Madame de Wilhem's and 
grew well. This day be cool. Mem., you've owned gloom, but you 
have maintained character, as Temple. Return Maclaine's books. 
Chapel: swear anew conduct, and never to act in gloom. ... Be 
active, &c. Retenue and all's well. Whore not except fine; Amster- 
dam, private. 1 

WEDNESDAY 2 MAY. 2 Yesterday (i May) after night boat 
(roovers patience fine girl, risk of sensual [ity] and adven- 
tures') 3 you arrived at Utrecht at seven. You breakfasted. At ten 
Baron Winn came and surprised you. You had chocolate, carried 
him ... to Tower and Mall; was fine and polite. Dined well; after 
it, maintained soul different, &c. Hungarian at tea. Brown said, 
"Veteres avias," 4 and said you was new ale working. This day, 

9 Caldwell, Rowley (see below, 12 May) and at least one other not certainly 
identified by Boswell. 

1 "And at Amsterdam, where you will not be observed." 

2 Boswell wrote no memoranda on 30 April and i May. 

3 The words within the parenthesis have been heavily scored out in a recent 
ink, but the reading here given is practically certain. Roovers is Dutch for 
"robbers." Since Boswell is being deliberately cryptic, the meaning is any- 
body's guess. My own expansion would be, "You were afraid that certain 
rough-looking passengers were robbers, but bore your fear with patience. You 
fondled a fine girl and ran the risk of sensuality and low adventures." 

* "Old wives' tales" (Persius, Satires, V. 92). Brown told him that he was 
bothered by superstition and the fermentation of youth. 

2 May 1764 237 

resume Plan; be Temple. Prepare Hague. 5 Shun dissipation. Persist 
retenue. Bravo! 

THURSDAY 3 MAY. Yesterday after twelve hours sleep you 
rose unrelaxed and refreshed and content. You read Greek, but 
that's all. At five you went ... to Zelide. She sang and repeated 
verses, but was too forced-meat* She would never make wife. After 
dinner, Brown argued that Society is happiest by marriage and 
knowing that we have real descendants, &c., and all contrary prac- 
tices are bad. You are to be husband to English lady, so keep your- 
self healthy. Concubinage is no dire sin, but never do it unless some 
very extraordinary opportunity of fresh girl that can do no harm; 
and such a case is impossible. 7 This day, swear retenue, and to pur- 
sue Father's plan, and to be a resolute man. 

FRIDAY 4 MAY. Yesterday you got up well. You fenced well. 
But you was bad. You called on Brown, who was warm for rational 
Christianity. But you was weak and stayed too long. You read Greek 
well. At four you walked in Mall with Zelide and la Veuve, charm- 
ing; then with Hennert, who said, "The English are hypochon- 
driacs." Then on Observatory: saw moon, Venus, &c. . . . This day, 
mem., you must stand fast. Don't be idle. Letters Father, Mother, 
Pringle, Lieutenant John. 8 Pay Brown six guilders for dinner. 
Compose mind and take Marie* at eight. But do no harm. Be pru- 
dent. If you have retenue, all is safe, even follies, and joy comes. 

5 He plans to go back to The Hague for the kermis or fair, but it is not clear 
why he bothered to return to Utrecht for four days. 

6 Too artificial, too sophisticated. "Force-meat" is (for example) sausage 
meat, meat whose original nature is concealed by mincing and spicing. 

7 This entire sentence has been scored out in a recent ink. "Dire" is not alto- 
gether certain and "concubinage" is a guess, but there is no doubt as to the 
general sense. 

8 "Pringle" is Dr. (later Sir) John Pringle, physician and scientist in London, 
a close friend of Lord Auchinleck who had been kind to Boswell on his 
London jaunts; "Lieutenant John" is Boswell's brother. It is odd that though 
Boswell loved his mother tenderly, he very seldom wrote to her or she to him.- 
Lord Auchinleck wrote the letters for the family at home. 

9 The name of the boat for The Hague? 

238 4>May 1764 

[Boswell to Jerome David Gaubius, M.D.] 1 

[Leyden] 4 May 1 764 

AUDI vi, PROFESSOR SPECTATISSIME! te linguam Anglicam in- 
telligere; attamen quia de hoc non satis certus sum, latinitatem in- 
accuratam tibi offero. Spero errores candide excuses; nam vix un- 
quam sic scribere occasionem habui. 

Autumno praecedente ad portam tuam famulae tradidi prae- 
parationem quandam chymicam quam patruus meus, M. D. Edin- 
burgi, tibi per me misit Professorem eo tempore videre non potui. 
Hyemem Ultratrajecti transegi. Nunc quando iterum Leydae sum, 

1 It is difficult to fit together satisfactorily the evidence of Boswell's memo- 
randa and of his correspondence with Gaubius. If one had the letters alone 
to go by, one would conclude that Boswell was in Leyden on the morning of 
Friday 4 May and saw Gaubius at Leyden at twelve noon that same day. 
But according to the memoranda, he left Utrecht on the evening of Friday 
4 May, arrived at The Hague at nine the next morning (Saturday 5 May) 
and saw Gaubius there (at The Hague) about noon. But he certainly saw 
Gaubius in Leyden. The only possible solution appears to be that his letter 
to Gaubius it is a draft is misdated: that he went directly from Utrecht 
to The Hague Friday night, went back to Leyden (ten miles) in the middle 
of the forenoon of Saturday 5 May, sent his letter to Gaubius, got a reply, 
saw Gaubius, and returned to The Hague in time to see the performance 
of a play, say six o'clock. The letter may be translated as follows: "I have 
heard, most excellent Professor, that you undei stand English, but as I am not 
quite sure of it, I offer you inaccurate Latin. I hope you will be candid 
enough to excuse my mistakes, for I have scarcely ever had an occasion for 
writing thus. Last autumn I left at your door with the maid a certain 
chemical preparation which my uncle, a Doctor of Medicine at Edinburgh, 
sent you through me. At that time I was unable to see you. I have spent the 
winter in Utrecht. Now, when I am again in Leyden, I greatly desire the 
honour of calling on you. Such a meeting will be both useful and pleasant to 
a foreigner. For since I suffer from a delicate constitution, I am very eager to 
have the advice of so celebrated a physician, whose lectures De regimine 
mentis quod medicorum est I have recently read with the greatest admira- 
tion. I shall remain here only during this day. I therefore beg that you will 
let me know by a written reply at what hour I may have an appointment with 
you. I am, with the greatest regard and obligation, J. BOSWELL." 

4 May 1764 239 

honorem te adeundi magnopere cupio. Tale consortium utilissi- 
mum aeque ac jucundissimum peregrine exit. Quia etiarn consti- 
tutione parum firma laboro, medici tarn Celebris cujus sermones 
De regimine mentis quod medicorum est, summa cum admiratione 
nuper perlegi, consiliuiyi habere valde sollicitus sum. 

Per hunc diem tantum hie maneo; precor igitur ut per respon- 
sionem scriptam mihi dicas quota hora tecum colloqui possim. Sum 
tibi summa observantia obstrictus, 

J. BoswzLL. 2 

SATURDAY 5 MAY. Yesterday you was pretty well, and set out 
at night for Hague. 

SUNDAY 6 MAY. Yesterday after sound sleep in roef, you 
came to Hague at nine; found good Hibernians at breakfast; saw 
Richardson, who was clear for Scripture accounts; then Maclaine, 
kind and hearty. Then Gaubius, who said, "You will be cured by 
thirty." Lost dinner, and strolled, as in London; went in coach to 
Scheveningen; then Mahomet, 3 fine, quite gay; was sceptical and 
wild, but silent. Supped Count Bentinck's.- 4 Library, lemonade; 
saw E. and B.'s letters; 5 convinced all things are as usual. This day, 
Chapel, clear and generous, no narrow views. ... Be vigorous. Be 
Temple. Return Tuesday or Wednesday. Be uniform. Write Dr. 
Pringle and Lieutenant John. Think, 

MONDAY 7 MAY. Yesterday you got up well. Had the Irish to 
breakfast in Great Room. Was fine at Chapel and calm; good ser- 
mon on leaving us an example. Then walked with Richardson in 

2 Gaubius returned a brief note in Latin saying that he would expect Mm 
at twelve o'clock. 8 Voltaire's tragedy. 

4 Christian Frederick Anthony, Count Bentinck de Varel (1734-1768), grand- 
son of the first Earl of Portland by a second marriage, a Captain in the British 
Navy. Boswell had met him during the Easter vacation. His wife was a Van 
Tuyll, a first cousin of Belle de Zuylen. He had served as intermediary in 
the clandestine correspondence between Belle and D'Hermenches, and was to 
perform the same function for Belle and Boswell. See p. 305. 

5 That is, he saw a copy of the Letters Between the Honourable Andrew 
Erskine and James Boswell, Esq., which he and Erskine had published the 
previous year. 

240 7 May 1764 

Wood; disputed Athanasian Creed, which he said might be left 
out But he took the Scripture account of GOD. Was pleased to find 
him quite Cambridge. He was not for Clarke's arguments a priori, 

but from Nature This day, think. Be uniform. Be retenu and 

manly and pursue Plan with unperceived relaxation. Return soon 
and recover habits [of] study. Be upon honour to continue Chris- 
tian, as Johnson. Church of England. At all events, firm; nor yield, 
nor own. 

TUESDAY 8 MAY. Yesterday Monsieur de Sommelsdyck waited 
on you in morning. You breakfasted at Yorke's with a grand multi- 
tude. You was well. You met Chais, who said twenty years ago he 
had consulted Gaubius for low spirits, who bid him amuse and be 
his own physician; not study too much nor too little. "Sometimes I 
fast, sometimes take rhubarb/' &c. He said well, "I may shorten my 
life some years. But in the mean time I have health and spirits to do 
my duties." Told story of Voltaire and fatality. Said between forty 
and sixty were the best years. "You think too much, but you will 
be a very active man." Strolled with Maclaine in fair; 6 dined 
Sommelsdyck. Yorke's ball, all fine, impossible to resist it. Home 
fine, &c. 

WEDNESDAY Q MAY. Yesterday at ten you went to Monsieur 
de Sommelsdyck's in fine, grand humour; a noble breakfast. Told 
him you heard of his family as of the Patriarchs, &c. Saw bourgeois 
pass, ludicrous. Viewed house, splendid picture at Culross; fine 
ideas. 7 Dined Count Bentinck; behaved well and checked him from 

6 "The month of May is distinguished at The Hague by the kermis or fair, 
which is held at this time and lasts a week. The beau monde used to go in 
masquerade about the streets on this occasion, and to divert themselves 
several other ways, as is done during the carnival at Venice. But the prin- 
cipal diversion now is walking about the fair and buying sundry commodi- 
ties, or riding out in chaises, which from their lightness are properly called 
phaetons: common people divert themselves in playhouses which are erected 
at that time on purpose; some of them deserve to be seen for their drollery" 
(Thomas Nugent, The Grand Tour, $& ed., 1778, i. 116). 
T Not clear to me. BoswelTs mother had grown up at Culross, and, like his 

9 May 1764 241 

being too free. Well with Comte Boufflers 8 and Jesuit governor. 

. . . Then rope-dancing; then home This day be mild, think; 

get character of Orison, and engage manly as self. 9 You'll breed 
him. Breakfast Maasdam; then Richardson. Give him a ducat for 
kermis. 1 Be pleased, you're forming fast. Your travels will please 
after. Only be retenu, and fear not, and purge. 

THURSDAY i o MAY. Yesterday you breakfasted at Maasdam's, 
charming and calm, and was well with him and with Sommels- 
dyck; then strolled in fair, and waited on Maclaine. Dined ordi- 
nary, and then with Richardson went to Scheveningen; passed the 
evening at Maasdam's well. Had Maclaine and Richardson at 
supper, quite gay and well. You said, "Miss Maasdam black as 
chimney." MACLAINE: "Her husband chimney sweeper." This day, 
recollect. Pay supper. See Swiss, but think to take Hercules. Write 
journal till eleven, and French, to show you've not lost power; and 
acquire strength of mind. Call Chais at one or Maclaine, and dine 
with him. Be Christian truly. You're at Hague. Make use of time. 
Despair not. 

[Received 10 May 1764, Dalryxnple to Boswell] 

Edinburgh, 1 1 April 1 764 

MY DEAR SIR, I am much to blame in having delayed so long 
to answer your letter. It gives me pleasure to see that you are so well 
employed, and that you have made such proficiency in French. As 

father, was a Sommelsdyck descendant. It may be that the words should be 
differently divided: "Viewed house, splendid; [thought of] picture at Culross 
[of Veronica van Sommelsdyck, Lady Kincardine]." 

8 Born 1746, son of the Countess of Boufflers-Rouverel, famous bluestocking 
and friend of Hume. See p. 272. 

9 Boswell is looking for a servant to accompany him on the Grand Tour, and 
has had a Swiss ("Grison") recommended to him. 

1 The manuscript actually reads, "Give him a kermis for ducat," probably by 
inadvertent transposition. But it could mean, "Take him through the fair and 
spend a ducat [ten shillings] on him." 

242 10 May 1764 

you have such a facility in learning languages, you will do well to 

fill up your hours with learning others besides French. I do not 

despair of seeing you an ambassador; you have a prodigious wise 

face at times and an air imposant qui sied bien au maniement des 

affaires. 2 

You tell me people observe that you are of a melancholy turn. 
This is owing to your not understanding the language of the coun- 
try. By "melancholy" my honest old friends mean thoughtful. 
There is no people in the universe so free from low spirits or the 
affectation of them as the Dutch. They cannot endure anything 
that looks being pensive without a cause; and as for low spirits, they 
laugh at them 

When you write to me about Utrecht, vous me faites rajeunir* 

1 reflect with pleasure on the easy days which I passed there, and I 
am proud of being remembered by so many persons who honoured 
me with their friendship. Let me entreat you to make my best 
compliments to all my friends. . . . Madame Sichterman, my 
old friend an expression more tender than polite does she re- 
member me? . . . 

I remember the young lady that you mention. Her taste for 
poetry is elegant. She was an infant when I knew her. Her little 
brother Reynold, is he alive? He used to speak Dutch and French 
together; "Je ne saurais singen"* said he, when asked to sing 

Did Count Nassau's son by the first marriage live? He was a 
poor weakly child. Adieu, dear Sir; may you be happy. Believe me 
ever yours, 


FRIDAT i i MAY. Yesterday after going to bed perfectly well, 
you got up gloomy and desponding. You dressed and grew well, but 
sauntered idly in kermis, yet you was easy. You maintained to 

2 "An imposing air which goes well with the handling of affairs." 

3 "You bring back 'my youth." 

*"I can't sing." Reinout Gerard, Belle de Zuylen's oldest brother, was 
drowned in 1759, at the age of eighteen. 

ii May 1764 243 

Maclaine that a wild fellow may be happy, &c., which is true. You 
breakfasted at Yorke's. Dined ordinary at four. Disputed with 
Caldwell on Contentment and on Happiness. ... At nine in Som- 
melsdyck's coach, fine and cordial, to Yorke's. You was in too high 
spirits, though you had retenue and showed it not. But you played, 
and lost in all nine ducats.* You was stunned. You recollected. You 
saw you might be ruined. Indeed, you have a turn to play. Oh, 
guard! You really forgot Sheridan's three guineas, but you lost it 
not at a sitting. 6 However, swear, and think not to win back; 'tis 
mad. This day ... be in all morning and compose mind, and write 
journal and to Johnny and Sheridan. Think on worthy father and 
on being calm; Pitfour, and uniform. 

SATURDAY 12 MAY. Yesterday you breakfasted Rowley, &c., 
but talked too bold on Inquisition, &c., though you want knowl- 
edge. Then Maclaine's, but was idle and insipid. Then Richardson, 
fine; had walk, and advantage of the universities explained. He 
owned that young men were bad, not from want of knowing good 
and evil, but from want of moral principles. Dined Maasdam's and 
passed evening, but lost sadly. Pray take care. At night Maclaine 
was with Hibernians. You had literary conversation. Maclaine bid 
you read Jones on authenticity, 7 and by discipline expel veteres 
avias. You sat up late with Caldwell, who made it clear that irregu- 
lar love was wrong. This day, breakfast in room. Journal a little, 
and try to compose. Visit Perponcher, 8 Chais, Maclaine, Bentinck, 
and dine not Sunday, as you must go. Pray lose only two ducats at 
time. Retenue, and none know your faults. 

SUNDAY 13 MAY. Yesterday at eleven, after card, you waited 
on Chais, who . . . advised you to natural knowledge, and said if 
he were with you, he'd keep you always alive. Said occupation was 
quite necessary, &c. Then Maclaine, who said if you did not turn 

5 About 4-6-0. 6 See p. 205 n. 9. 

7 Probably A New and Full Method of Settling the Canonical Authority of 
the New Testament, 1726, by Jeremiah Jones. 

8 Husband of Belle de Zuylen's younger sister Johanna Maria. 

244 13 Mar 1764 

out a sensible, clever, active man, he'd be surprised. Dined Som- 
melsdyck's, fine; went to Comedie: Tancred and Anglais a Bor- 
deaux. 9 . . . Was as well and gay as ever. Home, and grew fretful; 
owned this to Caldwell; 'twas rather too easy. Supped Hibernians 
and disputed fornication, and lost it, and saw you wanted firm 
principles of good of society, which are certain, and death is only 
a little interstice no dreadful distinction. Went to bed clear, ac- 
tive, sound; resolved to clear up journal, as 'twill be very pleasing 
yet Set out bold, and determined to go on as Sir David. 

MONDAY 14 MAY. Yesterday you rose all confused. But you 
cleared. You went to Chapel and was well, and heard sermon on 
truth of Christian religion: "He that hath ears to hear," &c. But 
still you was backward with Yorke. No matter. Then you saw Mac- 
laine, but was dreary. Dined Count Rhoon; Greffier Fagel 1 there, 
who seemed pleased with you. You really behaved well, and 
though sad, to your own satisfaction. Then a moment Richardson, 
who was too free, as you had been uncertain, but promised visit 
at five. Burgundy and Caldwell, to whom you had owned, and 
appointed meeting. Said he had known many so, and Dr. Mead 2 
said at twenty-five it went off from young. Said all were in same 
way, and thought others dreary. . . . Then in coach; then Maas- 
dam's and lost sadly. But peace! 3 Then home, and long conversa- 
tion with Caldwell, who inspired new views. This day, firm but 
gay; resolve four weeks well. 

TUESDAY 15 MAY. Yesterday at five, you left Hague, passed 
the day at Leyden, &c., &c., took night boat to Utrecht. 

WEDNESDAY 16 MAY. Yesterday you arrived at Utrecht un- 
hinged; you grew better and began to think. You was glad to see 
family. You was however too free with Brown. Take care. Be firm 

9 By Voltaire and C. S. Favart, respectively. 

1 Hendrik Fagel (1706-1790), Secretary of State for the States General. His 
daughter Johanna married Belle de Zuylen's brother Willem in 1771. 

2 A famous English physician who died in 1754. 

3 According to the "Livre de Jeu" he lost seventy-two guilders at The Hague 
during the Christmas vacation and one hundred and twelve during the 
kermis (in all, 16-14-9). 

16 May 1764 245 

and shun falling back to Houston Stewart* You passed the evening 
at home. But as you had not yet taken trempe* since kermis, you 
took sleep in dear bed to refresh. This day, Carron at six; hour Gil 
Bias. You read, not he, and speak some. Swear for three weeks 
spring up at six. See review; home; theme; compose and depart 

[c. 1 6 MAY. FRENCH THEME]" The plan I have spoken of, that 
is, to translate the Institutes of the Law of Scotland, is certainly an 
exercise which might do me much good. It will fix in my memory 
the laws of my country. It will teach me to write Latin fluently. 
And the illustrations of so able a scholar as Mr. Trotz could not but 
make me a complete juris consultus. Since the plan is so useful, I 
am sadly mortified that I did not think of it until it was too late; for 
my weakness of mind is such that it gives me a sort of horror to 
think that I should be obliged to stay four months more in this 
country. Besides, the plan is not an absolutely necessary one. I can 
forgo it without blame. Yet when I lay my hand on my heart, I 
confess that it would be inexcusable in me not to put it into practice. 

This, then, is how I have arranged the matter. I do not bind 
myself to make this translation in a certain time. I have already 
begun it, and am advancing at a reasonable rate. While I stay here, 
I shall show my versions to Mr. Trotz, and afterwards, when I am 
travelling, I can easily send them. He will add his notes, and in 
time I shall have a very respectable work. Mr. Trotz proposes that 
I publish it. Perhaps I shall. Will it not seem odd to appear before 
the Republic of Letters as translator of the law into Latin, in col- 
laboration with a true German, and especially to appear as an 
author of that sort at Amsterdam itself, the capital of boorish 

4 Archibald Stewart's older brother; to Boswell always a sobering example 
of lack of retemte. 

5 "Been hardened [literally, "tempered"] to your Utrecht regimen." 

6 This series of four pages (two joined leaves) was placed by Boswell himself 
at the end of the entire series, but as he has changed his original numbering, 
it may perhaps be doubted whether it really belongs there. It is impossible 
to assign a certain date to any theme after that for 20 April. 

246 16 May 1764 

Well, then, the plan is settled. I can with a great deal of justice 
make use of these words of Virgil, "Hoc opus, hie labor est." But 
only think, those of you who know me 1 think of the labour that I 
shall have before the work is complete. Five hundred hours! What 
a thing to look forward to! But, courage! It is a certain truth that 
the harder I work the happier I am. When I am busy, melancholy 
has no chance to enter. Yet it is almost miraculous how little effect 
that consideration has on the very people who have experienced it. 
You will find thousands and thousands who complain bitterly. "0 
GOD," they say, "how gloomy life is 1 How wretched I am!" and all 
that. But all the same, they do not budge an inch to escape their 
wes. They fold their arms, they remain idle. Their blood becomes 
thick, their brains heavy, their thoughts dark. What a horrible situ- 
ation' Dr. Armstrong, in his poem On the Art of Preserving Health, 
gives a description of that state which I have just described. He says, 

The prostrate soul beneath 
A load of huge Imagination heaves. 

It is impossible to translate into French his force of style, a force 
remarkable even in English. Rouse yourselves, wretched mortals! 
Remember that you have the honour to be men. Act forthwith, and 
be happy! 

THURSDAY if MAY. Yesterday Carron called you at seven. 
You sprung up and was well. If you do this, you'll awake always at 
regular hour. You saw horse-review. You was relaxed and bad. You 
talked with Brown on immortality. He was pretty clear. You 
walked Mall, and was well. You came home, and at eight went to 
bed, merely for one summer night to indulge and see if you rise 
clear at six. This day . . . repeat Ovid; French theme. Swear labour. 
Write Mother. Keep doubts to self. 

FRIDAY 1 8 MAY. Yesterday after ten hours' sleep you went to 
bed again two hours. fie! You passed the day so-so. But better. At 
night Brown called on you and said you'd come to stability. So just 
be patient and silent till that comes. How much better are you now 
than formerly! This day, spring up, rouse. Think for these four 

i8 May 1764 247 

weeks have fixed hours; above all for Scots law, perhaps with 
Brown; and see to regain firm tone, and leave Utrecht clear and 
bold. Have enlarged notions of GOD, and mem. Basil Cochrane. 7 
But be prudent. 

SATURDAY ig MAY. Yesterday you got up and drank whey. 
You was better. You was, however, changeful. After dinner you 
talked to Brown on Christian religion, and if one might not only 
take Christ's sayings, and take Epistles according to conscience. 
Tis true, this. Be generous. Be liberal. Be firm. You and he drank 
tea with Hennert. You was well; went to Brown's; supped with 
ladies; talked of ennui, ghosts, religious horrors. Walked home in 
dark, all solemn, all changed. Swore two hours a day Erskine, and 
to write to Father to take your obligation, &c. Be retenu. 

[Received 19 May, the Reverend Samuel Caldwell to Boswell] 

The Hague, 18 May 1764 

MY DEAR SIR, I thank you for your exact and curious journal; 
it was so laconic and sententious that had I not been too well con- 
vinced of the reality of your complaint, I should certainly have 
taken it for an ingenious essay upon what a man 77207 feel in that 
unaccountable malady. I assure you your puns pleased me; why did 
you not give us some at The Hague? You say you acted a part, pray 
continue to do so; I know you are very capable of doing so. Until 
the last day I had the pleasure of conversing with you, I thought 
your mind was as serene and tranquil as my own. I find, then, you 
have much more in your own power than I imagined. It rejoices me 
much; continue the actor, and let your part be applauded on this 
great stage. Some old philosopher says that the gods are pleased 
with nothing more than to see a virtuous man bravely opposing 
every misfortune and preserving his integrity and serenity amidst 
all the storms of human life. 

7 His mother's uncle, brother to the Earl of Dundonald, Commissioner of 
Excise in Scotland. A model of manly industry and regularity without nar- 

19 Ma r 1764 

But stop, I am beginning to moralize where there is no occasion; 
I am inadvertently speaking to a man of evils that cannot clearly 
delineate any that have the appearance of such. Did not an hour's 
conversation dispel these gloomy clouds last Sunday evening? 
When they returned, why did you not recall the same reasonings 
and apply the rules we proposed? 

The learned professor you mention 8 gave you most excellent 
advice; pursue it immediately. Were it not presumptuous in me to 
add anything to the directions of so great a man, I would earnestly 
recommend the cold bath every morning the instant you get out 
of bed. It will wonderfully brace all the nerves and limbs. When 
the microcosm is once rectified, all the parts of the macrocosm will 
quickly appear in their true light and genuine beauty. You will 
then see a pleasing harmony everywhere, and a reasonable happi- 
ness diffused through all the species of being. You will then be 
pleased with yourself and everything will smile around you. 

I, Samuel, do prophesy this will be your case; my predictions, 
as I told you before, have been happily accomplished to others who 
were plunged in a deeper abyss of gloom, and who by exerting 
themselves strenuously, and following advice and proper rules, 
have gloriously emerged and chased away these grim demons of 

Our friend Maclaine is very well. I saw him today: always sen- 
sible, lively, and gay; always busy. Mr. Rowley uneven like some 
others. I hope to receive a good account of you very soon from your 
own hands. Adieu. Be happy. I am, dear Boswell, yours with much 


I should have answered your letter sooner, but having been 
more abroad this week than usual, I was obliged to defer it until 
this evening. 

SUNDAY 20 MAY. Yesterday you got up and read Gil Bias, and 
was better. . , . You was bad at Greek. Brown said, "You're tired 
8 Gaubius. 

20 May 1 764 249 

here. You're out of your element." He said you'd understand Greek 
ere you leave this. You and he walked. He said Christian religion 
was that GOD has declared himself propitious through Christ and 
immortality, and allowed to interpret by conscience. You was 
dreary, and said weak and gloomy mind must be recompensed. At 
night, Hungarian; shocked at orthodoxy. This day, journal till 
one. Be Gray. Be retenu and worship GOD. Think. 

MONDAY21 MAY. Yesterday you lay till eleven. You was dis- 
mal. At dinner you was better. Brown gave good sermon on Sun- 
day. You walked with Carron, and had him at coffee. You supped 
well Brown's, and told stories gravely. This day, rouse. Swear 
fixed hours. Write Mother and Johnny, and Father that nought is 
certain, but he may tie you down. Also go to Amsterdam and try 
Dutch girl Friday, and see what moderate Venus will do. 

TUESDAY22MAY. Yesterday you rose ill and walked on ram- 
parts in despair. You called on Brown, who freely interpreted 
Scriptures. He said, "You're not well." You owned. You was, how- 
ever, meanly scrupulous. Let Reason reign. You saw Hahn at five, 
who told stories of Riicker's forgetting law, and officer hearing 
voices blaspheming. You drank Tokay with Hungarians 9 and 
walked fine. This day swear resume. Bring up journal. No Amster- 
dam yet. Retenue. Have Hahn soon. Tree of kings. 10 Johnson. 

[Received 22 May, Temple to Boswell] 

Inner Temple [London] 15 May 1764 

MY DEAR FRIEND, . . . What can possess you that you are so 
fond of visiting courts one never heard of? Who but yourself would 
think of going to the Court of Baden-Durlach to see mankind and 
learn politeness? I dare say you saw more of both here in England 
at Lady Northumberland's and Carlisle House than you will see in 

9 Possibly "Hungarian." See the entries for 2 and 20 May; also p. 172 n. 8 
above. The manuscript has merely Hungar. 

10 A "Jesse tree" (the royal descent of Jesus Christ, according to Matthew and 
Luke) ? Or a list of the kings of England? See the memorandum for 23 May. 

250 22 May 1764 

all the courts of Germany, except that of Berlin. But perhaps I am 
mistaken; I am only solicitous lest you should neglect places worthy 
your curiosity for others that one would hardly go a mile to look at. 

So the Countess turns out a jilt. I am already in love with Made- 
moiselle de Zuylen. Charming creature! young and handsome, une 
savante et bel esprit. Tell her an Englishman adores her and would 
think it the greatest happiness of his life to have it in his power to 
prostrate himself at her feet. 1 You shall have the widow. Don't be 

My dear Bos well, how sincere is your friendship for me! I know 
you love me, and you may be assured that you have the first place 
in my heart of all men in the world; but GOD forbid that I should 
ever be a burden to you or to any of my friends. No, I flatter myself 
I shall still have enough to support me as a gentleman, but though 
I should not, I hope I shall always be able to act in some sphere that 
may place me above dependence 

Pray what does Mr. Johnson write to you about? I should like 
much to see your journal, but how can you convey it to me, for it 
will be too expensive to send it by the post? Do contrive to let me 
read it some way or other. I have long expected characters of your 
principal foreign acquaintance, especially of those at The Hague, 
and particularly of the ladies you admire most, and an account of 
the present manners and taste of the Dutch. Pray let me have a 
letter on this subject. . . . 

Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me, with the most tender 
affection, yours entirely, 


P.S. Pray write soon. I shall be more punctual for the future. 
Churchill published a new poem the other day entitled The Candi- 
date. The first part of it is admirable. The last part of it is a severe 
invective against Lord Sandwich. Churchill is undoubtedly a gen- 

1 See p. 259. Belle de Zuylen's letters to Constant d'Hermenches show that Bos- 
well at some time shortly after this seriously suggested to her that she should 
marry "his best friend," though he seems not to have given her Temple's 

22 May 1764 251 

ius. His name will illustrate this age. Helvetius 2 is here, and much 
caressed by the nobility. Are we to expect nothing more from Mr. 
Johnson? Let us have his Shakespeare at least. 

[Bos well to Temple] 

Utrecht, 22 May 1764 

MY DEAR TEMPLE, This morning I had the pleasure to receive 
your last. Your postscript has that natural expression of a friend: 
"Pray write soon." How much in unison are our inclinations! Be- 
fore the sun goes down, I shall have finished my answer. Long may 
we be thus. Why do I say long? Amidst all the clouds with which 
my mind is overcast, I have one incessant beam of joy. Yes our 
friendship must be immortal a's bur souls. Infinite Author of Virtue 

and Felicity! I thank thee for this 

Since the high flow of spirits which I wrote to you of, I have 
endured many a dreary hour. I read two discourses by Professor 
Gaubius of Leyden: De regimine mentis quod medicorum est. I 
was greatly pleased with them, and thought I would do well to con- 
sult this famous physician. I waited upon him a fortnight ago and 
told him very fully my uneasy situation. He bid me be assured that 
my distemper was owing to bad nerves, advised me to live temper- 
ate, to take a great deal of exercise, and never to want occupation. 
He said he could prescribe no immediate cure, but that he was cer- 
tain that in a few years I should be firm and happy. This consulta- 
tion was really curious. I have it at length in my journal. You will 
be much entertained with it. Yet, my friend! is it not hard to think 
that we depend so much on our bodies, those epracraXa, those 
2 Claude Adrien Helvetius, French philosopher and litterateur, had caused 
great scandal in France by publishing De V esprit (1758), a work reducing 
all human faculties to sensation. The Sorbonne had condemned it, and it 
had been publicly burned. Though such doctrines were by no means gen- 
erally approved in England, they were less shocking there than in France 
because of the well established English tradition of philosophical empiricism. 
From England Helvetius went to Berlin on the invitation of Frederick the 

252 22 May 1764 

earthy cases which the Stoics despised so much? What think you 
of the idea that it was a brawny frame which gave to Anacharsis 
the fortitude of despising it? 3 Is this possible? Such speculations 
suit not our lofty sentiments of the dignity of human nature. I 
hope Mr. Gray is never sick; at least never splenetic. Long live the 
Bard of Sublimity. 

You moralize on the ennui* You are certainly right. It re- 
minds us that we are not yet in the state of felicity. But, alas! my 
gloomy imagination will not allow me to think of felicity. Voltaire 
observes that wickedness does not so often suffer in this world as 
some would imagine. But weakness is sure to suffer. My feeble 
mind affords a strong proof of this. What variety of woe have I not 
endured! Above all, what have I not endured from dismal notions 
of religion! I need not remind you of the several changes which I 
have undergone in that respect. I will never disguise my fluctua- 
tions of sentiment. I will freely own to you my wildest inconsisten- 
cies. I thought myself an unshaken Christian. I thought my system 
was fixed for life. And yet, my friend, what shall I say? I find 
myself perplexed with doubts. Rousseau's Curate has suggested to 
me some objections which I cannot get rid of. Pray look at the 
Savoyard's Creed in Emile. I have a sceptical disposition. I would 
impute it to a disordered fancy; for I see strong proofs that Jesus 
Christ had a divine commission. My misery is that, like my friend 
Dempster, I am convinced by the last book which I have read. I 
have a horror at myself for doubting thus. I think of death, and I 
shudder. You know how sadly I was educated. The meanest and 
most frightful Presbyterian notions at times recur upon me. 

My dear friend! write to me by the first post. Tell me, can 
the Supreme Being be offended at my waverings? Counsel me, I 
pray you. I have committed many offences. What am I to think on 

8 A favourite Boswellian illustration of Stoicism. The philosopher Anaxarchus 
(not Anacharsis), when he was beaten in a mortar, said, "You beat only the 
shell of Anaxarchus." 'E/ryacraXa ("workhouses," "penitentiaries") does not 
deserve the Greek characters. It is a Latin word made from a Greek stem, and 
is properly spelled ergastula. 

22 May 1764 253 

that head? My ideas of virtue and vice are not fixed. Shall I ever 
be a solid, uniform, and happy man? Pray write soon. You shall 
have a long epistle next post. GOD bless you, my ever dear Temple. 


WEDNESDAY 23 MAY. Yesterday you got up better. At eight 
you went with Hungarians 5 and heard Bonnet, and when you came 
out, said, "An vel un. verb, &c.?" 6 It was a scene next to Newgate. 
At dinner you seemed fretful. Madame said, "You are tired of 
everything." You made tree of kings. You came home and laboured 
some hours and grew quite well. This is an infallible cure. This 
day, write to Lieutenant John and bring up journal; read Scots 
law; recollect cool. Put books in order. Rebegin on new plan. Swear 
Locke's Christianity, 7 and retenue, and speak each morn. At four, 
Goens. 8 

THURSDAY 24 MAY. Yesterday you was much better. You 
fenced noble; by not owning spleen at dinner you was pretty well. 
At three you had Hungarian and famous Van Goens, pretty boy, 
lively though very learned. See him often. . . . Then fields, quite de- 
licious; read Guiffardiere's letter. Resolved thus: "I believe Christ 
sent from GOD to atone for offences and give morality. I keep to 
this, and all the load of accessories I leave." You went to bed fine. 
This day, resume. Swear to get into good humour, and be manly. 

[Received 24 May, De Guiff ardiere to Boswell. Original in French] 

Tilburg, 20 May 1764 

IT WAS NOT AT ALL for any of the reasons you have imagined 
that I have been so long silent. No, my dear Sir, be more just to my 

5 See p. 249 n. 9. 

6 Possibly, "An vel unum verbum [intellexistis] ?" ("Did you understand a 
single word of it?") Bonnet, it will be remembered, was the Professor of 

T The system outlined in John Locke's Reasonableness of Christianity, 1695. 
It accepts revelation but makes little account of it. 

8 Ryklof Michael van Goens (1748-1810), a prodigy of learning. He was at 
this time sixteen years old. Four years later (1766) he was appointed Pro- 
fessor Extraordinary of Ancient Literature at the University of Utrecht* 

254 24 May 1764 

candour. I read with avidity your lessons in virtue 9 (lessons from 
a Cato! a Cato only twenty years old!), and readily grant your 
experience in all the counsels you gave me. A friend who on re- 
turning from a ball or some other public diversion reads me a 
sermon of sublime morality, a morality worthy of the gods, is a 
friend to be treasured; besides, I respect your virtue as much as I 
honour your talents. Nor is it because you have changed your 
tone that I hasten to reply to you. The book which you ask me for 
and which I have a chance to send you tomorrow by the messenger; 
the approaching departure with which you threaten me; my wish 
to communicate all the flattering things I heard concerning you 
from people who saw you at The Hague these are my real reasons 
for writing. 

But to come to your letter. I do not understand why you thought 
the suggestions I made in my last so libertine. You must have been 
in a very bad humour when you read it. Or can you really be 
so depraved as to prefer to have me utter fine sentimental sentences 
set off by austere maxims? You, my friend, running after that 
chimera called Prudence, Reason? At twenty to take futile pains 
to be what one cannot be even at sixty without doing violence to 
one's nature? That is funny enough. 

But, seeing you are a philosopher, tell me, I beg you, if it is 
not highly philosophic to follow Nature? I am a man and I want 
to be a man: homo sum, nihil humani a me alienum puto. So do 
not tell me to make myself into an angel or a hog. Leave me my 
foibles, my passions, my caprices. I am no more to be blamed for 
being as I am than Monsieur Bart 1 is for having pouting lips and 
bandy legs. I do not love vice, far from it, but I seek pleasure in 
everything, just like you, just like every one else. Now, to give 
myself pleasure, I want to enjoy life with all my senses. I want to 
feast my eyes on a young beauty whose sparkling eyes bear to the 

9 Above, p. 92. 

10 "I am a man, and think nothing human foreign to my interests" (Terence, 
Heauton Timorumenos, I. i. 25). 

1 Boswell's landlord, 

24 May 1764 255 

depths of my heart that benign heat which melts the ice even of old 
age; I want to smell the sweet scent of the most brilliant flowers, 
intoxicate myself with the most exquisite perfumes; I want to 
melt in ecstasy at a fine voice, at the thrilling sound of a flute; 

1 want to savour the most succulent foods and touch with my hands 
the smoothness and softness of a beautiful skin. 

As for the pleasures of the soul, I exclude them only as they 
are above me. Poetry will enchant me, Eloquence with its fiery 
masculine strokes will elevate me, Philosophy will console me. I 
hold these tranquil pleasures in reserve for a time when my soul 
is calm and has subsided into itself. But when Pleasure, that strong 
spring of my being, moves me, I fly into the arms of sensual delight 
without consulting Reason or Philosophy. Either of them at that 
time would only embarrass me. I even say to myself, "Lucky mor- 
tal! You are made for pleasure: enjoy yourself and let life end 
when pleasure ends." 

There, my friend, is the system which I should like to get you 
to try. What? You frown? What means that look severe? Fie! It 
disfigures your face. It shows the baneful effects of study, of books, 
and of all those learned vapidities with which the best days of our 
lives are made wearisome. Believe me, my dear Boswell, the man 
who reasons is a depraved animal, and the man who reflects a mad- 
man who strangles himself with his own hands. Caton fa trop 
seduit, mon fils; prends d'autres sentiments. 2 Drop your Johnson 
and all those fine writers on morality. Have the courage to analyze 
them, and you will see that they are a tissue of meannesses, of 
vanities, of trifles dressed up with the fine name of Philosophy. 
Remove all the borrowed finery, and what remains? A man, made 
like other men. 

Le masque tombe, Thomme reste, 
Et le sage s'evanouit. 3 

2 "Cato has captivated you too much, my son; adopt other opinions" (parts of 
two lines from Voltaire's La Mort de Cesar, III. iv). 

3 "The mask falls, the man remains, and the sage vanishes" (J. B. Rousseau, 
Odes, II. vi, i2th strophe, sage for heros). 

256 24 May 1764 

Ha! ha! ha! ha! What extravagance! How indignant you will 
be! I beg you, write me quickly some touching bits to strengthen 
me. However hideous you may think this country, there are a small 
number of pretty women here who make my virtue totter. Come 
to my relief, powerful and sublime wisdom! Confirm my trembling 
steps, and lead the way with your torch down all the crooked and 
slippery paths of the labyrinth of life. 

By now, you have perhaps twelve thousand hexameters ready 
to print, with two volumes of haircloth and bees.* You cannot 
possibly have wanted matter since you began frequenting the beau 
monde of Utrecht and The Hague. Speaking of The Hague, some 
one who saw you at Madame de Sommelsdyck's has sung your 
praises to me. He said you were a very likable man who needed only 
to be trained by some woman of quality in the jargon of fashion 
(that is, in good French) ; that you must form an attachment, must 
seek a mistress among women of fashion who will take it upon her- 
self to teach you how to behave so as to turn women's heads. You are 
going shortly, I believe, to Berlin. Provided you are six feet tall, 
have a proud look, wear a little gold lace on your coat, and Rave 
little or no religion, you will be abundantly equipped to please. 
But if you go to France, it is quite otherwise. There the women rule, 
it is they who set the fashion; and you must give all your thought 
to making your court to them, to diverting them, to making them 
laugh. Otherwise you will see nothing but cabarets and filles de 
joie. I well know that many of your countrymen are reduced to 
that, but you have too much delicacy and taste to plunge into that 
kind of debauchery. 

Always prefer the society of well bred people. If their pleasures 
are not always innocent, they are at least always decent; and vice 

* The italicized words are in English in the original. By "twelve thousand 
hexameters" Guiffardiere means, I think, to say that Bos well will vie with 
Virgil, who, besides his great epic poem (The Aeneid), wrote pastoral and 
amatory poems (Eclogues) and didactic poems on farming (Georgics). The 
fourth book of The Georgics deals with bee-culture. But Boswell, Guiffardiere 
implies, will substitute ascetic for amatory verses. 

24 May 1764 257 

that is concealed loses half its viciousness. I think already that 
I see you nonchalantly stretched out in an armchair in the midst 
of a circle of women, playing with your snuffbox, smiling at one, 
whispering endearments into the ear of another, making a rendez- 
vous with a third, hearing a thousand flattering remarks on your 
air, your dress, your taste, your wit I say, I think I see you flying 
away to the opera in a chariot blazing with gold, to frolic with the 
prettiest of actresses behind the scenes, to decide the fate of a 
comedy, the talent of an actor, the reputation of women that is 
how I see my dear Mr. Boswell at Paris. 

Forgive my nonsense; it is not meant seriously. 

Pay my respects to Mr. Brown and his family; tell him that as 
he lent Vernet 5 to me to read, he will wish me to finish it, and that 
he can count on having it this summer. Addison's Travels accom- 
panies this. I read them with pleasure and send my thanks. I have 
the honour to be, with true esteem, Sir, your most humble and 


Give my regards to La Roche if you write to him. 

I 6 intended to send you Addisson along with this letter, but 
unluckily the Man was gone. Just as I got this news, comes young 
M. de Zeulen from Bois-le-Duc to see me; as he is going within 
eight days back again to Utrecht, I desired him to deliver you the 
Book, which he did promise. 

FRIDAY 25 MAY. Yesterday Brown said you reasoned exactly 
contrary to probability, for although you was well each day ere 
night, you imagined each morn you could never be well. He said 

5 Probably Lettres critiques d'un voyageur anglais sur Particle Geneve, by 
Jacob Vernet, a Swiss pastor, at one time the friend of Rousseau, later his 
bitter enemy. This pamphlet attacked Voltaire. Brown had edited it and 
had written the preface. See p. 23 n. 7. 

6 This last paragraph is in English in the original. I have made a few changes 
in punctuation, but have otherwise left it as Guiffardiere wrote it. Though he 
makes one slip in idiom, he clearly had a good command of English, as 
Boswell maintained (above, p. 49 5) His spelling is remarkably accurate 
for a French-speaking foreigner. 

258 25 Mar 1764 

Helvetius never mentioned our reasoning from probability, which 
is the greatest faculty of the mind and source of knowledge. Hahn 
was with you at six. You told him case. He pronounced gravely: 
bad nerves, acrimonious juices, lax solids. Sweeten, fortify, amuse. 
No metaphysics, plain common sense. No claps. Women are neces- 
sary when one has been accustomed, or retention will influence 
the brain. Nicely disputed. Eglinton's interpretations. Milk with 
ladies. Wine Lombach. This day, think. Be fine. Hahn said he saw 
something in eyes; mark this. 

[THURSDAY 24 MAY. JOURNAL] 7 ... break it, and shall set 
Reason upon the throne which is his due; and indeed till that hap- 
pens, I cannot expect settled satisfaction. I went to a cottage near 
Utrecht, where Brown entertained our ladies with milk. I went 
home with Lombach, a genteel Swiss, and over a bit of bread and 
glass of wine we were very well. 

FRIDAY 25 MAY. Brown bid me judge of precepts about forni- 
cation as my reason directed; I saw then that irregular coition was 
not commendable but that it was no dreadful crime, and that as 
society is now constituted I did little or no harm in taking a girl, 
especially as my health required it. Bless me! Were Dempster or 
any other of my old gay friends to find me hesitating thus, how 
would they laugh! Yet they are worthy fellows; ay, and sensible 
dogs, too. I should have mentioned that Dr. Tissot was with me 
this morning at six. He is a true original, a shrewd, lively little 
fellow of sixty. He said a hypochondriac should not be cured by 
medicines, but by a regular employment of all the hours of the 
four and twenty. Little knew he that I was a grievous sufferer. He 
talks well the modern languages. I found he was a great sceptic. 
No help for that. He and I went and saw a review of the regiment 

7 From this point we recover BoswelTs journal. See pp. ix, xv. The reason that 
the record of his last three weeks in Holland has survived is that he had 
fallen behind and wrote these pages up from his notes after he left Utrecht on 
18 June for his tour of the German courts. All that he left behind (536 pages, 
if his own pagination was correct) has disappeared. The fragmentary first 
sentence records part of Dr. Hahn's diagnosis, or of Boswell's comment on it 

25 May 1764 259 

of infantry at Utrecht. I was much amused. But I was in undress, 
which looked odd amongst the Dutch, who were in full splendour. 
However, I was the easy man of fashion and well with dear Zelide, 
who asked me to come out to the country and see her after dinner. 
I determined to take a trip to Amsterdam, and have a girl. 

At four Brown walked out with me to Zuylen and returned. I 
went to the General's 8 where I found all the Zuylen family and 
Count Bentinck. Zelide was too vivacious, abused system, and 
laughed at reason, saying that she was guided by a sentiment in- 
terieur. I was lively in defence of wisdom and showed her 9 how 
wrong she was, for if she had no settled system one could never 
count on her. One could not say what she would do. I said to her 
also, "You must show a little decorum. You are among rational 
beings, who boast of their reason, and who do not like to hear it 
flouted." Old De Zuylen 1 and all the fifteen friends were delighted 
with me, as was Madame Geelvinck, who was there "as demure 
as ever." We went and walked in a sweet pretty wood. I delivered 
to Zelide the fine compliments which my friend Temple had 
charged me to deliver: that is to say, the warm sentiments of adora- 
tion. She was much pleased. I talked to her seriously and bid her 
marry a bon baron of good sense and amiable manners who would 
be her superior in common life, while he admired her fine genius 
and all that. She said she would marry such a man if she saw him. 
But still she would fain have something finer. I told her that she 
erred much in wishing for what could not last. I said she should 
never have a man of much sensibility. For instance, "I would not 
marry you if you would make me King of the Seven Provinces." 2 
In this fine, gay, free conversation did the minutes fly. I don't re- 
member the half of what we said. 

8 General van Tuyll's. 

9 From here to "flouted" the original is written in French. It may be assumed 
unless notice is given to the contrary that Boswell used French for both sides 
of dialogue with Hollanders in the journal as in the memoranda. 

1 Belle's father. He was actually only fifty-six years old. 

2 Boswell recorded (and probably spoke) this sentence in English. 

26o 25 May 1764 

At nine I went into the Amsterdam boat. The roef was hired, 
so I was all night amongst ragamuffins. Yet were my thoughts 
sweet and lively till the last two hours, when I sunk to gloom. 

[SATURDAY 26 MAY] I came to Grub's, an English house. 
I was restless. I was fretful. I despised myself. 3 At ten I waited on 
Longueville, one of the Scots ministers, a heavy, sulky dog, but 
born near Auchinleck.* At eleven I went and called on Dr. Blins- 
hall, the other Scots minister, a hearty, honest fellow, knowing 
and active, but Scotch to the very backbone. I next waited on Mr. 
James Boswell, glass-merchant, who has been here I believe forty 
years. He was very kind, and asked me to dinner next day. I strolled 
about very uneasy. I dined with Mr. Rich, merchant. 

At five I went to a bawdy-house. I was shown upstairs, and had 
a bottle of claret and a juffrouw. But the girl was much fitter for 
being wrapped in the blankets of salivation than kissed between 
the sheets of love. I had no armour, so did not fight. It was truly 
ludicrous to talk in Dutch to a whore. This scene was to me a rarity 
as great as peas in February. Yet I was hurt to find myself in the 
sinks of gross debauchery. This was a proper way to consider the 
thing. But so sickly was my brain that I had the low scruples of an 
Edinburgh divine. 

I went to BlinshalPs at eight He talked of religious melancholy 
like a good sound fellow. He pleased me by saying it was bodily. I 

3 To use the terminology of his present enlightened state, he was having "low 
scruples": that is, he was having difficulty in persuading himself that what 
he proposed to do was not a sin. The journal, which is deliberately written in 
a libertine tone, does not do justice to the moral struggle which was really 
going on. 

* See Lord Auchinleck's letter, p. 53. Boswell is just getting around to make 
the calls his father suggested. It is a little odd that Holland's largest city 
(generally thought at the time to be the largest city in Christendom after 
London and Paris) should have meant so little to Boswell nothing in fact 
except a place where he could go to a bawdy-house unobserved. Utrecht is 
nearer to Amsterdam than it is to The Hague, but Boswell had not been there 
once after the hasty and disconsolate tour of Holland which he made in 
August, 1763. 

26 May 1764 261 

was so fretted as to be glad of any relief . I supped with BlinshalTs 
landlord, Connal, an Irish peruke-maker who it seems was once a 
young fellow of fortune in London, and acquainted with Pope and 
many more men of genius. It was a queer evening. At six I had been 
so tired as to go to FarquharV and drink amongst blackguards a 
bottle of wine. I shall never forget that lowness; for low it was 
indeed. At eleven we parted. I resolved to go to a speelhuis* but had 
no guide. I therefore very madly sought for one myself and strolled 
up and down the Amsterdam streets, which are by all accounts 
very dangerous at night. I began to be frightened and to think of 
Belgic knives. At last I came to a speelhuis, where I entered boldly. 
I danced with a fine lady in laced riding-clothes, a true black- 
guard minuet. I had my pipe in my mouth and performed like 
any common sailor. I had near quarrelled with one of the musi- 
cians. But I was told to take care, which I wisely did. I spoke plenty 
of Dutch but could find no girl that elicited my inclinations. I was 
disgusted with this low confusion, came home and slept sound. 

SUNDAY 2 7 MAY. I went to Chapel 7 and heard a good sermon 
from Mr. Charles, a very pretty man. I dined with honest Boswell 
whom I found just a plain, kind-hearted Scotsman. His wife was 
a hearty Englishwoman. One of his sons was at Surinam. I saw 
the other, a smart active lad, and a daughter. I went and heard 
Blinshall preach; but had all the old Scots gloomy ideas. I then 
strolled through mean brothels in dirty lanes. I was quite splenetic. 
I still wanted armour. I drank tea with Blinshall. At eight I got into 

5 Apparently a tavern kept by a Scotsman. 

6 "It is also customary for strangers to see something of the famous speel 
houses, or music houses in this city. These are a kind of taverns and halls 
where young people of the meaner sort, both men and women, meet two or 
three times a week for dancing. Here they only make their rendezvous, but the 
execution is done elsewhere. Those who choose to satisfy their curiosity in 
this respect should take care to behave civilly, and especially not to offer 
familiarities to any girl that is engaged with another man; otherwise the con- 
sequence might be dangerous, for the Dutch are very brutish in their quar- 
rels" (Thomas Nugent, The Grand Tour, 3d ed., 1778, i. 83). 

7 The Church-of-England chapel. 

262 27 May 1764 

the roef of the Utrecht boat I had with me an Italian fiddler, a 

German officer, his wife and his child. 

MONDAY 28 MAY. After a schuit sleep I arrived at five very 
nervous. I went to my naked bed* I rose at ten. I was changeful and 
uneasy all day. 

[Received c. 28 May, Constant d'Hermenches 8 to Bos well. 
Original in French] 

The Hague, Saturday [26 May 1764] 

I AM DELIGHTED, SIR, to have it in my power to serve you in 
some way. Here is the letter you asked for. 9 If you had told me but 
one detail of your approaching journey, I could have mentioned it; 
however, persons like you are always sure to receive a kind recep- 
tion from that remarkable man whose heart and mind deserve the 
homage and gratitude of every thinking being. 

Though it may astonish you to hear it, I dare assure you that the 
admiration you feel for Mademoiselle de Zuylen will not be 
eclipsed by meeting him. I am told that she writes as well as he 
does, and perhaps she has more wit. Her beauty, her youth, her 
intelligence exert a fascination which is overpowering but very 
precious to any feeling heart. 

Is it not true, my dear Sir? It is impossible that being in accord, 
as we are, in our opinions of her, we should not have other points in 
common: and I am proud of them so far as our slight acquaintance 
permits me to know them. As good men all have only one country, 
so an amiable woman is a benevolent star which draws together 
the most opposed characters and conditions and makes all the 
bonds of society precious. 

8 Constant d'Hermenches, a married man forty years old, was a Swiss noble- 
man in the military service of the States General. He was a man of many 
ambitions, but was perhaps best known for his amorous triumphs. Belle de 
Zuylen was carrying on a clandestine and extremely candid epistolary cor- 
respondence with him. 

9 A letter of introduction to Voltaire, with whom D'Hermenches was inti- 
mately acquainted. 

28 May 1764 263 

I assure you a thousand times, Sir, of my wish to be helpful in 
all your concerns; and have the honour to be, without reservation, 
your most humble and obedient servant, 

The Hague, Saturday, in great haste. 1 

TUESDAY 29 MAY. Gordon came here last night. He lodged at 
Baron d' Ablaing's. I see him scarcely at all. At three Tissot carried 
me to the Utrecht Bedlam. The poor creatures were almost all silly. 
They were mostly going about loose. They called me the King of 
England. I was amused with this scene. Tissot said mankind were 
all mad and differed only in degree. At night I had Lombach with 
me. We talked politics. 

WEDNESDAY 30 MAY. I had sat up all night. I was in an 
agreeable fever. But I must not repeat this often. I sent a card to 
Zelide that I would bring Gordon to see her. 2 In the afternoon I 
carried him to Zuylen, one league from town, in a cabriolet. We 
were politely received. I saw the old castle and all the family 
pictures. 3 Zelide was rather too vivacious. I was discontented. 

1 Boswell showed this letter to Belle, and she wrote to D'Hermenches, "If 
Boswell has not written to you, it is not because he was not very much pleased 
with you and with your letter: he showed it to me. Allow me the vanity of 
recalling word for word a compliment which, however exaggerated it is, 
could not fail to be very agreeable to me: 'I am told that Mademoiselle de 
Zuylen writes as well as Voltaire,' &c. I thought that *I am told' very pretty, 
very delicate, but not exactly discreet. For if there had been no mystery, you 
would not have thought of making one: you would have based your judg- 
ment on Le Noble, the Portraits. But never mind, 'I am told 1 pleases me a 
good deal." (Nobody was supposed to know about her letters to D'Her- 
menches. Actually, every one did.) 

2 "Take Gordon to Zelide, and talk to her sweet" (Memorandum for 30 May). 

3 Apparently his first visit to the ancestral mansion of the Tuyll family. All 
through the winter they had lived in their town house in Utrecht, an impos- 
ing structure in the Kromme Nieuwe Gracht. The Castle was described by 
Philippe Godet in 1906 as follows: "A pleasant path following the right bank 
of the Vecht brings you after an hour's walk from Utrecht to Zuylen. In an 
old album . . . which appears to be of the middle of the eighteenth cen- 
tury are shown various views of the castles and homes which this branch of 

264 3* May 1764 

THURSDAY 3i MAY. Awaked as disordered as ever. I got a 
letter from Mr. William Nairne begging me to meet him and 
Andrew Stuart at The Hague, next day. 4 1 had also an invitation 
from Sir Joseph Yorke to his ball on Monday, the King's birthday. I 
hesitated and fretted, but at last determined to go. From this I am 
sure that I am now much better. Formerly in such circumstances 
I would not have stirred. Now, whenever I am called upon, I go to 
my post. This being Ascension Day, I went to Brown's church. I 
heard sermon and prayers and all that makes me so dreary on Sun- 
days. Today I did not feel the same effects. I looked around to see 
what on earth could make the gloom on Sundays. 

the Old Rhine bathes before it goes to lose itself in the Zuider Zee. There, 
among others, may be seen the village of Zuilen, drawn out along the bank of 
the river, which here describes a gracious bend, its houses low, its farms 
neat and pleasant. Behind the village a bell-tower rises above a group of 

trees Not far from the church, imposing and haughty, stands the 

Castle of Zuylen In spite of certain reconstructions which Belle's father 

made in the Castle, it has kept its appearance of former days, or at least its 
general silhouette. Flanked by turrets at the four corners, it is, in the fashion 
of the country, surrounded on three sides by water. You cross a wide moat 
on a bridge of three arches, after having passed under a postern gate which 
must be of very ancient construction, where are carved, beside the arms of 
Utrecht and of Zuylen, those of the families of Tuyll and Weede. Not far 
from the main building are grouped its dependencies; its farms, barns, and 
carriage-houses. Through the curtain of century-old trees which frame the 
Castle, the eye embraces the vast perspectives of the plain of Holland, on the 
horizon to the west one discerns through the haze the lofty tower of the 
Cathedral of Utrecht. The impression of uncramped and ancient opulence 
which the visitor feels on approaching the manor-house is accentuated when 
he enters the spacious vestibule, from which rises a double staircase of 
marble. The corridor of the first floor [American: second floor], which runs 
the entire width of the main fagade, is adorned with a glorious series of 
ancestral portraits, among whom one notices a kneeling Chevalier of Malta" 
(Madame de Charriere et se$ amis, i. 1-3, translated). 

* Andrew Stuart, an able Scottish solicitor, one of the guardians of the 
children of the sixth Duke of Hamilton, had come to Holland to collect evi- 
dence for his young ward, the seventh Duke, in the famous Douglas Cause. 
Nairne, an advocate or barrister, was also one of the Duke's lawyers. 

3i May 1764 265 

I ordered a genteel flowered-silk suit, and at eight I set out in 
the Leyden roef. I had with me two Brussels lawyers. One of them 
wanted much to convert me to the Popish religion. He was a 
learned, lively, pretty man. He told me what tranquillity, what 
joy, his holy religion gave him by its many aids to the imperfec- 
tions of human nature, and how he had no doubts, but reposed in 
the bosom of his sacred Mother, the Church. I owned to him that 
I envied his situation. But for my part, I was pretty enlarged in 
my notions and was not afraid of my Creator. He seemed to have 
no difficulty at all with regard to transubstantiation. I went this 
far with him: "Sir, allow me to ask you one question. If the Church 
should say to you, Two and three make ten,' what would you do?" 
"Sir," said he., "I should believe it, and I should count like this: 
one, two, three, four, ten." I was now fully satisfied. This conver- 
sation, however, made me calmly think that religion is a more 
universal thing than people imagine. 

FRIDAYIJUNE.I arrived at The Hague at nine, after a good 
sleep. I had written to good Caldwell that I was very bad, and had 
begged him to come for a day to Utrecht. He received me with open 
arms and seemed quite happy to see me. 5 I told him strange 
event 1 that I was perfectly well. I went immediately to the Parlia- 
ment of England, where I found Mr. Andrew Stuart, whom I had 
not seen for two years. He had a number of papers before him, 
quite the man of business, and he had the air of the Duke of King- 
ston. 6 I was altogether changed by seeing him. My best ideas of 
family and Major Cochrane and the Abbey returned. 7 1 talked well 

5 He had sent Boswell two long and affectionate letters of advice dated 27 
and 31 May. 

6 The Parliament of England was the principal inn of The Hague. The 
reference to the Duke of Kingston is probably a tribute to Stuart's fine 
features, the Duke being one of the handsomest men of his time. Bosuell had 
not yet taken sides in the Douglas Cause: when later he became an ardent 
supporter of Douglas, he conceived a violent antipathy to Stuart. 

7 A complex of associations. Boswell's grand-uncle, Major Cochrane (by this 
time eighth Earl of Dundonald), was Stuart's brother-in-law, and as warm a 
partisan of the Hamilton claims as Stuart himself. Boswell's first published 

266 i June 1764 

md manly. After breakfast we went to the Parade. Nairne came 
rom a jaunt .to Amsterdam, just the old man, quiet, sensible, 
ivorthy. Also came Colonel Scott of the Guards, natural son to the 
late Duke of Buccleuch. 

At twelve I went yvdth them in a coach for Rotterdam. Stuart 
said he would not live in Holland for a great deal. I had a pride in 
having passed my winter here. We stopped at Delft and looked at 
the churches, and got to Rotterdam about four. I was in immense 
spirits and could -not believe that I had been so bad here in winter 
last. It however galled me to recollect my hypochondria, especially 
when I knew not but it might return upon me this very night. 
Stuart talked to me in a very friendly way, and promised to get 
Basil Cochrane to advise my father to allow me a pretty handsome 
tour abroad. I called at Stewart's and saw Sally and Mr. Mollison, 
and wrote a line to Stewart. 8 At six we had a hearty dinner at our 
inn, the Marechal de Turenne. Scott was a fine, gay, hearty fellow, 
quite English and happy. They insisted on my staying all night 
I did so. I said I had almost lost my memory in Holland; and when 
they said, "Have you eat of this dish?" I answered, "Yes, to the 
best of my remembrance." Stuart and I called on Craufurd, 9 then 
returned to our inn. All went nobly. 

SATURDAY 2 JUNE. Scott and I slept in the same room. I got 
up better than usual. I was amused to see Scott and Stuart and 
Nairne in their morning figures. How curious is a man with regard 
to times or circumstances which touch him nearly. Scott said the 
Guards were lazy dogs, and when Shafto was an officer there, he 
used to ask his servant who called him, "John, what's a clock?" 
"Two minutes from five, Sir." "Call me then, John, when those two 

poem, An Evening Walk in the Abbey Church of Holyroodhouse (Scots 
Magazine, August, 1758) had praised Major Cochrane for causing the church 
to be re-roofed. The Abbey was also, and very directly, connected with the 
Douglas Cause by the fact that Lady Jane Douglas was buried there. 

8 See p. 131/2.8. 

9 Patrick (later Sir Patrick) Craufurd, another Scots merchant settled in 
Rotterdam. Boswell applied to him for the wine he had promised Gronovius 
(above, p. 228). 

2 June 1764 267 

minutes are run." I found real life relume me quite. I took leave of 
my good friends. 

I went in the schuit to Delft and from thence took a chariot to 
The Hague; came just in time to breakfast with my good Hiber- 
nians. This forenoon, I took Caldwell out to the Wood and told him 
the whole story of my most extraordinary life. My external changes 
have been pretty well, but for internal ones, I think I may enter the 
lists with any living being. Caldwell was struck with wonder; his 
amiable mind appeared very plainly. He was pleased with Lord 
Eglinton's method of freeing me from the gloom of superstition, al- 
though it led me to the other extreme. 1 He spoke like a philosopher 
and said I must have had great strength of mind to struggle through 
so many conflicts, and a fine genius to have improved my mind so 
much although so hardly oppressed. He said my misery was now 
over; that now I should be a firm and a happy man provided I lived 
an active, temperate, agreeable life. He really gave me rational 
hopes of being yet a man. 

Monsieur de Sommelsdyck paid me a visit this morning. I 
dined with him, and was very well. I then waited on Maclaine and 
put him in sweats by defending transubstantiation. He was a little 
splenetic. 2 I met Richardson and carried him to the inn, where I 
gave him a neat supper. I found his morality to be just the common 
sense of mankind. He said in his parish the young fellows got 
the girls with child first, without any idea of harm, and then 
married them. 3 He said this showed what couples loved each other, 
and he never blamed them. He said, too, that if three stout 
youths were cast upon a desert island with three old men who 
had young wives, that the youths ought surely to propagate with 
the young wives, although they were all Christians; so that the 
Doctor was of opinion that the sexes may unite just according as 

1 Seep, i. 

2 BoswelFs unexpected emancipation from religious gloom shows itself in a 
malicious desire to tease the exponents of Calvinistic theology. 

3 His parish in England. He no doubt had more than one living besides the 

268 2 June 1764 

circumstances are. This is surely sound sense, and when I am clear 

and unclouded by the gloom of prejudice, I must think so too. 

SUNDAY 3 JUNE. I rose as easy and well as mortal could be. 
The Hibernians breakfasted with me. I was fine at Chapel, then 
had a drive to Scheveningen. I dined at Maasdam's, and was quite 
cheerful. I drank tea at Colonel Houston's, then went to Maas- 
dam's where I lost at cards, and was angry at myself therefor. At 
night I had some good conversation with Caldwell. 

[Received c. 3 June, Patrick Craufurd to Boswell] 

Rotterdam, 2 June 1 764 

DEAR SIR: According as you desired, I have made inquiry 
about the port wine, an anker of which I have bought for you and 
is at your disposal. It costs /i8. If you please to send me down a 
brief je* I shall send it where you please. I beg my compliments to 
Mrs. and Mr. Brown. I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant, 


MONDAY4JUNE. In a genteel suit of flowered silk, I went 
this morning and paid my respects at the English Ambassador's, 
where was a very great crowd, it being King George's birthday. 
This morning was indeed a morning of joy. I received a large 
packet of letters, one from my Lord Marischal, informing me that 
I was to accompany him to Berlin, one from my father to the same 
purpose, and letters from my Scots and London bankers with a 
credit upon Berlin of 30 a month. Never was man happier than I 
this morning. I was now to travel with a venerable Scots nobleman 
who had passed all his life abroad, had known intimately kings and 
great men of all kinds, and could introduce me with the greatest 
advantage at courts. 5 A multitude of rich ideas filled my imagina- 

* An anker is eight and one third imperial gallons (ten gallons U.S.); eight- 
een guilders amounted to about 1-12-9; brief je means u a written order." 
5 George Keith, tenth Earl Marischal of Scotland, had been attainted for his 
active participation in the Jacobite uprisings of 1715 and 1719, but because of 
later services to the Government, had received a full pardon in 1759. He was 

4 June 1764 269 

tion. The Hibernians were pleased. Caldwell said it was the luckiest 
event in the world for me. I was quite elevated. I despised my dull 
plodding at Utrecht in the clay of metaphysical theology. "Ah," 
said I, "if Brown came to me now with a dispute about Necessity, 
how would I laugh at him/' 

I dined at Maasdam's, quite the gay foreign cousin. 6 He has 
taken a great liking to me. At night I went to the ball given by 
Yorke. It was splendid, but his dry insolence was insupportable. I 
danced one country-dance with a Mademoiselle Wassenaer. I was 
in a glow of delicious spirits. I took my excellent Caldwell aside 
and told him how very happy I was, but at the same time said that 
I was a complete sceptic as to Christianity. He said I was wrong, 
for its evidence was very convincing; and he owned that he himself 
had been a sceptic. I was too feverish. 

[Received 4 June, Lord Marischal to Boswell] 

Allanbank, 25 May 1764 

SIR: I flatter myself with the hopes of your good company to 
Liineburg, and perhaps on to Berlin, as you will have heard from 
my Lord, your father. 

I shall want a voiture (a chaise) for three, if you go, as I hope, 
otherwise only for two. Pray look out for one in Utrecht, and make 
my compliments to Mrs. Brown, the Minister's wife (she is Kinloch 
by birth) to know if she knows of a chaise. Inquire also of 
Mademoiselle Maitland chez le general Sporken a la Hare, if she 
has found one, as her father wrote to her. Excuse this liberty and 

one of the most trusted counsellors of Frederick the Great; had served as 
Prussian Ambassador to France and to Spain, and as Governor of Ncuchatel. 
He had been in Scotland arranging his affairs with the intention of settling 
there, but had been recalled by an urgent letter from Frederick. Lord 
Auchinlcck had seized the opportunity to launch his son on the Grand Tour 
under the most distinguished auspices. Lord Marischal was at this time past 
seventy, a shrewd, stately, polished courtier of vast practical experience. 
6 The Baroness van Maasdam was a Sommelsdyck. 

270 4 June 1764 

I suppose that, living a studious life at Leyden, your wardrobe 
will need some addition, now you are going to courts. A suit of 
summer clothes, fine camlet with a gold thread button but no lace; 
and against winter a complete suit of worked flowered velvet, the 
buttons of velvet; four pairs of laced ruffles. This I think will do, 
for cloth is to be had everywhere, and velvet, though this last not 
so cheap as in Holland. 

I shall make no stay in London, but hasten to Holland, where 
perhaps I may be about the 8 or loth June. I go from Hellevoet to 
Rotterdam; from thence straight to Utrecht; and if you and my 
voiture are ready, shall stay there only a day. I want only a voiture 
sufficient for my journey to Berlin, for I count it will be of little 
use to me there, and therefore want to lay out as little money as 
I can on it. Please write under cover of Mr. Craufurd in Rotterdam 
to, Sir, your most humble and obedient servant, 


[Received 4 June, Dempster to Boswell] 

Manchester Buildings [London] 25 May 1 764 

I like your friend Rose well; 

By your odd sort of talk 

I thought him Kilra k, 

And took much pains and trouble 

To amuse the Rose noble; 7 

But if the young man is possessed 

Of solid head and candid breast, 

What matters it to me or you 

On how obscure a bush he grew? 
The business of the Nation past, 

7 "From your very imperfect description, I concluded that your Utrecht 
friend Rose was Rose of Kilravock [pronounced Kilr6ck] and entertained him 
under the mistaken assumption that he was the Rose, the representative of 
the family." A rose noble was a mediaeval coin stamped with the English 


4 June 1764 271 

Sunshine and vacance come at last; 
And Britain saddled for the year 
With armies and excise on beer, 
No hireling mean, no patriot sour, 
Dempster to thee devotes an hour. 
How can I, f etter'd thus in rhyme, 
Inquire your news or give you mine? 
Ask how you like Batavian air, 
The men, the manners, and the Fair? 
Whether your mind a firmer tone 
Acquires, or is more fickle grown? 
Whether you study hard at home, 
Or (as you used in London) roam, 
Full of spleen and mirth and glee, 
'Tween Dash 8 and Eglinton and me? 

Pray, has the solid Dutchman's school 
Proved every sceptic knave or fool, 
Your doubts restrain'd within due bounds, 
And fixed morality on solid grounds? 
In Number 5, removed from noise and strife, 
I jog as usual calmly on in life, 
Sometimes partake in senates' high debate, 
Unbias'd vote, by post or party heat 

Unfortunately for you, my dear Boswell, your last verses in- 
spired me with the desire to undertake the arduous task of an 
answer in verse. Two months ago I came as far as you see; since that 
I have not found one moment fit for the Muses. East India faction, 
private business, private pleasure, and public diversions or public 
dulness, have occupied every second of my time. I often however 
think of you, and that with an affection unimpaired by length of 
time or absence. I thought you would have writ me ten letters for 
one. Friends should pay to friendship the tribute of correspondence 
as men do the taxes of a State, not an equal quantity each, but 

8 Andrew Erskine's nickname. 

272 4 June 1764 

proportioned to their respective wealth and ability. You, Sir, in- 
herit ten times more imagination, and have acquired ten times 
more leisure than me. I'd as soon pay pound for pound land-tax 
with the Duke of Bedford as page for page letter-tax with the Laird 
of Auchinleck. 

Poor Jean, who is at present with me, has enjoyed very indif- 
ferent health since you left us. She is grown a skeleton, and I have 
the most serious apprehensions about her. I have scarce seen Dash 
once since he went to Scotland. He published a piece of the dra- 
matic farcical kind which was represented at Edinburgh. I asked 
Donaldson, die printer of it, 1 how it took. "Oh, very well, Sir, very 
well I can assure you; it was not damned till the second night/' 

What are you about? Where are you going? How do you like 
Utrecht after a summer and winter's trial? 

Let me now, my dear friend, conclude, as all friends should do 
their letters, with a word of advice. Avoid all company in general, 
and all kinds of reading, whether law, history, morality, poetry, or 
politics. Never roger any woman, eat but once a day, and that of 
one dish. Tailors are thieves all Europe over, so make up no clothes. 
Avoid travelling, either by land or by water, but leave Utrecht as 
fast as possible. This is the Law and the Prophets. Farewell. 2 

TUESDAY 5 JUNE. I dined at the inn. After dinner Baron Beul- 
witz of the Duke of Brunswick's family waited upon me with great 
civility, and asked me to sup with the Duke. I went to the Comedie, 
then to the Duke's; played a party and supped. All was elegant and 
easy. I sat by a Mademoiselle de Starrenburg, who knew young 
Pitf our and talked to me of him. We had now at The Hague a good 
many English: Lord Holdernesse, Lord John Cavendish, &c. 

WEDNESDAY 6 JUNE. I went with Count Boufflers and his 
Jesuit tutor to wait on Madame Boufflers, 3 who was now at The 

9 His sister and housekeeper. He was still a bachelor, though he afterwards 
married. * Publisher to both Erskine and Boswell. 2 No signature. 
3 The famous Countess of Boufflers-Rouverel, mistress of the Prince de Conti, 
at this time engaged in a sentimental correspondence with David Hume. She 
had called on Samuel Johnson in London the previous year. 

6 June 1764 273 

Hague. She was at her toilet, quite the French fine lady. She was 
distant. I admired her much, I paid my visits of conge partout. I 
agreed with Monsieur de Sommelsdyck to have a correspondence. I 
shall have it too with Monsieur de Maasdam. I had a parting con- 
versation with Caldwell. He disputed seriously with me against 
irregular love. I wavered between his opinion and my o\\ n. "Weak 
I was, that is sure. But it must also be owned that the matter is 
somewhat difficult. Rowley and he took cordial leave of me. 

I went in the schuit to Leyden. It was the kermis there, and all 
was gay. I found Monsieur Gronovius in his garden. I owned to 
him my melancholy. He bid me conceal it, and be always busy or 
amused. We passed this our last evening with much satisfaction. I 
took a hearty leave of him. I had engaged at The Hague a servant, 
his name Jacob Hanni, a Bernois, who spoke French and German. 
I took him with me, so that I had my two attendants. I own that I 
had little vanity enough to be pleased with this. One of my schuit 
companions asked me if my servant was German. "Sir," said I, "one 
of my servants is German and the other is French." My companion 
looked at me with a much more respectful eye. 

At eight I went into the Utrecht roef with a French officer in 
the Prussian service who had been in Portugal and knew Captain 
Preston well. 4 He talked finely and gave me a share of his cold meat 
and wine. I slept well. 

[Received c. 6 June, Count Bentinck to Boswell] 5 

Hague, 5 June 1 764 

DEAR SIR: I send you enclosed three letters for Brunswick, of 
which you will make use if you think proper. Messrs. Stainer and 
Feronce will introduce you to all the good company in that town. 

4 Boswell' s cousin, Patrick Preston, eldest son of Sir George Preston of Valley- 
field, was a major in the British Army and a brigadier-general in the service 
of Portugal. 

5 Original in English, which Bentinck handles like a native. He had probably 
spoken it from childhood. 

274 ^ June 1764 

The former is an honest, good, worthy man as ever breathed, and 
a great friend of mine. He is plain and good-naturedly civil. 
Feronce is very sensible, quick, and sprightly; knows a great deal, 
writes very good prose and pretty poetry; a little wicked, but good 
company. I have sent you another letter for the Abbe Jerusalem, a 
worthy man who has all the good nature, the affability, and the 
modesty of a child, with the most deep and sublime study and the 
most refined taste. The first sight you will find him backward, but 
if you talk with him, I am sure you will love him. 

Be so kind, dear Sir, to spend now and then a few minutes of 
your leisure hours in writing to me. You will oblige him vastly 
who professes himself to be always your faithful friend and obedi- 
ent humble servant, 


P.S. On second thoughts I have not sent you any letter for 
Berlin, as Lord Marischal will certainly give you opportunities 
of getting enough acquainted with everybody. However, if desired 
you shall have it. When you write to me, tell me where I am to 

THURSDAY 7 JUNE. Once more I returned to Utrecht. To my 
surprise I found that Trotzius had concluded his college. I was 
very, very gay at Brown's. I drank tea chez. Mademoiselle Tuyll, 
aunt to Zelide. I passed the evening at home. 

[Boswell to Madame de Spaen. Original in French] 

Utrecht, 7 June 1 764 

MADAME: Although I had an opportunity to thank you by 
word of mouth for the obliging letter with which you honoured 
me before your departure for Germany, I still feel guilty for not 
having written to you since then. Fresh courtesies call for fresh 
acknowledgments. The reception you recently gave me in the 
Prinsesse Gracht is another proof of your goodness to me. Accept 
my thanks and believe that I feel what I say. Indeed, I was treated 
as a friend; I had the privilege of supping with you the last evening 

7 June 1764 275 

and of accompanying you to Leidschendam. Could an acquaintance 
of fifteen years do more? Am I not very fortunate? Such \vorthy 
Scots as I ought to travel. 

I have been twice more to The Hague, first to see their kermis, 
which I found very amusing, perhaps too amusing to last ten days 
in a row. A mob of that size upsets most people, even the most 
steady. I was there also to celebrate our King's birthday. Sir Joseph 
Yorke gave a superb ball. There were ten or twelve of us English 
there. Everything was gay and brilliant. I had the honour to sup 
on the following evening with the Duke, 6 whom I cannot praise 
enough. The world has never seen a prince who succeeded better in 
adding amiable virtues to strength of character. He receives one 
with true politeness, a politeness that comes from the heart. 

I have taken leave of my friends at The Hague. I expect to 
leave this country soon. I have the best possible opportunity for 
going into Germany. My Lord Marischal, who has been some time 
in Scotland, is on his way back to Berlin. He is good enough to 
take me with him. 

We shall go to Liineburg, to Brunswick, and finally to the 
Court of Prussia. Nothing could be more fortunate for a young man 
than to make this tour with a nobleman who has seen so much of 
the world and is held everywhere in such esteem. I shall certainly 
have extraordinary advantages. I have no doubt, Madame, that 
you and Monsieur Spaen will be pleased when I inform you of a 
circumstance so lucky for a stranger to whom you have shown so 
much goodness. 

I expect my Lord here every day. I do not know whether he has 
the honour to be known to Monsieur Spaen. I imagine, however, 
that he will be charmed to accompany me when I pay my respects 
to you at your paradise of Bellevue. I flatter myself that I shall have 
that pleasure by the middle of this week. 

This letter will be carried by our excellent friend Reynst, who 
has promised me the pleasure of his good company at supper at my 
house when he passes through Utrecht. 
6 Of Brunswick, 

276 7 June 

I am very busy in putting my affairs in order before leaving. 
What formality! I confess it, Madame. But you must know that 
I draw highly flattering hopes from it. It seems to me that some 
day I shall occupy a distinguished post because I naturally feel 
myself to be a man of so much importance. Nature is wise. She 
always has designs when she grants qualities. It depends on us, 
however, to turn these qualities to good use. Be good enough, 
Madame, to excuse my jesting. I write to you as I speak, without 

Perhaps you ask me, Madame, if I am leaving Utrecht with 
perfect indifference, if I feel no tender regrets on being separated 

from Baroness! do not ask me. Yes, yes. I feel regrets 

indeed. Charming Zelide! May heaven grant her the happiness she 
deserves. To hear that Zelide is happy will rejoice my soul. 

I beg you to pay my affectionate respects to Monsieur de Spaen, 
to assure my young Baron of my friendship, and to present my 
compliments to his governor. 

I am always, Madame, your most obliged and humble servant, 


FRIDAY 8 JUNE. I kept the house with a cold. Hahn visited 
me for the last time, advised me against taking drugs, and bid me 
not consult physicians, as people distressed as I was were timorous 
and obedient, and might be imposed upon. This was very honest. 
He assured me that time, attention, and regularity would make me 
quite well. Brown came and smoked a pipe with me, and said that 
we must take the Christian religion liberally, according to reason. 

[Received c. 8 June, Count Bentinck to Boswell] 

Hague, 7 June 1 764 

DEAR BOSWELL, In great hurry I send you the letter you have 
desired. I hope it will answer your ends, and that the dear black 
philosopher will meet everywhere with the good reception he so 
well deserves; and with a sirloin every Sunday, a leek and some 
oatmeal on other days, in order to partake of every part of the rights 

8 June 1764 277 

of a great Briton saving brimstone, however, in every kind and 
shape. 7 GOD bless you; remember me often, and don't forget that 
you have promised to show me Dempster's letter. Adieu. Ever 



SATURDAY 9 JUNE. After dinner I had a long conversation 
with Brown, who told me that I judged too hardly of myself, for 
that I never had discovered much melancholy. He said I should 
never own it at all. He said I might very probably be an envoy, and 
so rise in foreign employment. I found that I might be something. 
He said he could trust me with any business. I passed the evening 
with Janosi, my Hungarian friend, and was very vivacious. 

[Received c. 9 June, Craufurd to Boswell] 

Rotterdam, 8 June 1 764 

DEAR SIR: I duly received both your letters, the first inclosing 
your bill for /i8. on Mr. Davidson, and the last a brief je for the 
anker port, which shall be sent tomorrow to Leyden with the 
address you desire. 8 I see you are going to Berlin with Lord 
Marischal, who won't be here before Sunday or Monday, as the 
wind is contrary. I am afraid I won't have the pleasure of seeing 
you before your journey, as some unforeseen business has pre- 
vented our jaunt tomorrow, which is put off to the Saturday follow- 
ing. I beg you will make compliments to Mr. and Mrs. Brown, and 
believe me, Sir, your most obedient humble servant, 

P.S. Your letter shall be delivered to Lord M. 

SUNDAY 10 JUNE. I sat in all forenoon. At one I had a hand- 
some chaise and drove myself to Zuylen. I was in solid spirits in the 
old chateau, but rather too odd was I; for I talked of my pride, and 
7 The sirloin for England, the leek for Wales, the oatmeal for Scotland. By 
brimstone Bentinck perhaps refers to the British devotion to brimstone and 
treacle (sulphur and molasses) as medicine, and to hell-fire as subject- 
matter for sermons. 8 The port was a present to Gronovius. See pp. 228, 268. 

278 10 June 1764 

wishing to be a king. Zelide and I were left alone. She owned to me 
that she was hypochondriac, and that sho had no religion other 
than that of the adoration of one GOD. In short, she discovered an 
unhinged mind; yet I loved her. 9 1 supped at Brown's. 

[Received c. 10 June, Abraham Gronovius to Bos well. 
Original in Latin] 1 

Leyden, 9 June 1764 

MOST NOBLE FRIEND, I profess myself, of course, indebted in 
the highest degree to the singular thoughtfulness which prompted 
you, though short of time, to honour me last Wednesday in my 
garden with your most agreeable company; I hope that you arrived 
safely at Utrecht. But I blush at the excess of your generosity even 
while I acknowledge my obligation to you; I mean of course the 
forty-five bottles of port which, by your order and through the 
attention of Mr. Craufurd at Rotterdam, were delivered today. 
What return I can make for this gift, what thanks I can utter for 
this ready liberality of yours, I hardly know. In the mean time 
I hope that the journey into Germany, which you are about to 
undertake in the company of that famous hero the Earl Mari- 
schal, will be happy and auspicious; and when it has been prosper- 
ously concluded, I shall congratulate myself heartily if it is my lot 
again to enjoy the pleasure of your friendly conversation, and to 
admire those virtues with which you have adorned an ingenuous 
heart. Continue therefore to press your father's footsteps: to do so is 
to cultivate piety, virtue, and learning, and thus to aggrandize the 
glory of the name of Boswell to your country's profit: I predict that 
it will one day resound with gratitude for your services. May GOD 
ALMIGHTY in his goodness grant it. Farewell, my pride and glory; 
keep a place in your heart for your 


9 "You would be miserable with her. Yet she is to write, and loves you" 
(Memorandum for i \ June) . 

1 Gronovius's original (an elegant bit of classical Latinity quite different in 
style from the workaday Latin of Trotz and Gaubius) is printed on p. 393. 

ii June 1764 279 

MONDAY 1 1 JUNE.Ihadsatupallnight. Reynst of The Hague 
met me, and carried me to Oblet's, 2 where I found Monsieur and 
Madame Hasselaer, whom I have an antipathy against, and rny 
dear Zelide, whom I have a sympathy with. My imbecility will 
never leave me. Zelide was in a fever of spirits. 3 1 drove about with 
her and Madame Hasselaer and had curious reflections to myself. 
In August last I was a gloomy, deplorable wretch in this dull city. 
Now I am a fine, gay gentleman, the gallant of fine, gay ladies. 
After dinner I went about and paid my visits pour prendre conge. 

1 was as happy as a prince. At seven Trotzius was with me. Over a 
glass of cordial Malaga, we vowed everlasting friendship, as a 
German professor understands Amicitia. We parted upon excellent 
terms. At eight Reynst came to me, and from many circumstances 
well interpreted, he persuaded me that Zelide was really in love 
with me. I believed it. But I was mild and retenu. Richardson also 
arrived. I had Reynst and him at supper. 

[Boswell to Johnston] 

Utrecht, 11 June 1764 

MY DEAR FRIEND, More than two months ago, I sent you a 
long letter to the care of Provost Graham. If it has been lost or mis- 
carried, I am very sorry. Yet I think at any rate you might have 
written to me again before this time. I hope you are well, at least in 
your ordinary state. 

Since I received your last, I have had most dreadful returns 
of the blackest melancholy. I have endured more than I ever did. 
To tell you my sufferings from a horrid imagination is scarcely 
possible; for I have had ideas of which to describe the frightful 

2 An inn. 

3 "Yesterday, after sitting up all night, you went with Reynst to Oblet's and 

met Zelide. She sent you play She was echaufjee but sweet This day 

read her play. At eleven go to her" (Memorandum for 12 June). Belle's 
comedy was never printed, and Godet, her biographer, makes no mention of 
having seen it in manuscript. 

280 11 June 1764 

effects, no language has words sufficient. GOD preserve me from 
returns of the dire distemper, for indeed of late it had almost 
crushed me. My mind was tortured in a thousand ways. I really 
was not myself. Johnston, how unfortunate am I to have such 
a mind* However, let me console myself. Let me view the agreeable 
side. I have bright parts. I have generous sentiments. I have warm 
affections. When I am well, I am supremely blessed. 

No more of this. Tis all chimera. Let me talk plain matter of 
fact, plain common sense. I have now completed my winter at 
Utrecht, have improved in knowledge, and have made the most of 
the company here. I have been several times at the brilliant Hague, 
and have established a friendship with my Dutch relations, and 
obtained the acquaintance of other people of distinction. In short, 
I have passed nine months in Holland to rational purpose, and to 
the satisfaction of my worthy father. 

And now, Johnston, as a reward for my behaviour, behold me 
enjoying uncommon good fortune. My Lord Marischal is so good 
as to take me with him to Germany. I expect him here every day. 
We are to go to Liineburg, to Brunswick, and at last to Berlin. My 
father is highly pleased with the scheme, and has given me a 
genteel credit. All is well; and if I am not happy, it must be owing 
to a disturbed mind. This unexpected felicity has made me quite 
a new man, has given new life to me. Not three weeks ago the 
whole Creation and all the events of life seemed equal and indif- 
ferent. All was jumbled in one dreary chaos. You have no notion 
how bad I was. However, I have had such a conduct here as to leave 
a character which will always do me honour. Think only of my 
happiness now to travel with the ancient Scottish nobleman who 
has seen so much of the world in all its grandeur and all its 
pleasure; who is at courts as I am in the houses of Ayrshire lairds, 
and who is with all this a friendly, easy man. Such a change as I 
now feel makes me more and more convinced of immortality, for 
I see how a man can be quite extinguished and yet can revive. Go, 
my friend, by yourself to Arthur Seat; think of me in distant 
regions. Love me ever, and let us hope for many, many happy days 

ii June 1764 281 

together. GOD bless and preserve you, my worthy Sir. I ever remain, 
your most affectionate friend, 


Pray recollect the conversations which \ve have had on travel- 
ling. I shall, while abroad, lay up a store of pleasing ideas. I shall 
return composed and put on the gown and be a useful member of 
society as well as an agreeable private friend. Be as happy as you 
can, and think that you contribute to make me so; as indeed you 
certainly will when you relate to me your complacent days during 
my absence. Remember me kindly to Cairnie and to our other good 
common acquaintances. Farewell. 

[Boswell to Temple] 

[Utrecht, c. 11 June 1764] 

MY DEAR FRIEND, ... I am now surprisingly well. I look back 
to my late situation with fearful amazement, and scarcely can 
believe that it has been. 

What is the human mind? Let us calm our restless curiosity, for 
in this life we shall never know. While I have been crushed with a 
load of gloom, I have strove with severe intenseness of thought to 
find out the "Spirit of Man." But all my thinking has been in vain. 
It has increased my disorder and turned my speculations inwards 
upon my own mind, concerning which distempered imagination 
has formed the most wild and dreary conjectures. I have been so 
cruelly dejected as seriously to dread annihilation. I have found 
my faculties decaying gradually, and have imagined that in a very 
little time the last spark of celestial fire would be totally extin- 
guished. Demon no less absurd than malevolent! why torment me 
thus? Can celestial fire be extinguished? No, it cannot. I have 
thought, if my mind is a collection of springs, these springs are all 
unhinged, and the machine is all destroyed; or if my mind is a 
waxen table, the wax is melted by the furnace of sorrow, and all 
my ideas and all my principles are dissolved, are run into one dead 
mass. Good GOD, my friend, what horrid chimeras! Where was 

282 ii June 1764 

manly Reason at such seasons? Reason existed, but was over- 
powered. Yet have I felt the generous resolve swelling in my bosom. 
I have said to the Demon of Hypochondria, as the bold Highlander 
in Fingal says to his Deity of fanciful conjecture, "Show thyself to 
me, and I will search thee with my spear." 

Take it not ill, Temple, that I have once more rehearsed my 
sufferings. It is Boswell who suffered. Ah! Temple! what a strange 
friend have you got! Behold him at one time an abject, perhaps an 
offensive, being; at another time the most spirited, the most agree- 
able of the sons of men. Love him, for he ever loves you. His friend- 
ship is proof against wretchedness and against felicity. In that he is 
invariable. After all, let us hope for many years of serene happiness 
here, and for permanent felicity hereafter. 

In my last I was doubting the truth of Christianity. Shall I tell 
you why? Spleen brought back upon my mind the Christianity of 
my nurse, and of that could I not doubt? You know how miserably 
I was educated with respect to religion, I am now again at rest. I 
view Deity as I ought to do, and I am convinced that Jesus Christ 
had a divine commission, that through him the justice of GOD is 
satisfied; and that he has given us the most exalted morality: "To 
love GOD with all our heart, and our neighbour as ourselves." There 
is enough. As to the accessory doctrines which have been disputed 
about with holy zeal, I let them alone. 

My dear Temple, how great is the force of early impressions! 
Is it not incredible that we should think worse of the character of 
God than of that of a sensible worthy man? And yet I have done 
so, and shuddered with horror to think of my benevolent Creator. 
You have always had clear and elevated sentiments of religion. 
After all my struggles I am in the same happy situation. "Father 
of light and life," grant that I may continue so! 

And now, Temple, let me rejoice thee, for the joy of ihy friend 
is fully thine. In a day or two I am to set out for Berlin. ... I shall 
be presented at the different courts upon the very best footing. I 
shall acquire real knowledge as well as elegance of behaviour in the 

ii June 1764 283 

company of a politician and a courtier. My father is highly pleased 
with this scheme and has given me a handsome credit. In short, all 
things are as I could wish. 

Well, my friend, what think you? Am I not now myself? 
Farewell GOD bless you. Think of me with your usual affection. 
I shall write to you henceforth in a style that will give you pleasure. 
I leave my friendly compliments to Bob, to Nicholls, and to Clax- 
ton; and I ever remain your most affectionate friend, 


TUESDAY 12 JUNE. I had a room in the opposite side of my 
Cour de VEmpereur where I had Richardson lodged. At eleven I 
met Zelide at her music master's, where she played delightfully. I 
then walked with her and Bernard. I was touched with regret at the 
thoughts of parting with her. Yet she rattled so much that she 
really vexed me. 

I gave a plain dinner to Richardson, Brown, and Carron, after 
which we went and saw the old library of the canons of Utrecht. 
We drank tea at Brown's, where was Hahn, who said that Zlide 
would be always une mcdheureuse demoiselle, as she was quite gov- 
erned by fancy. Richardson and I walked. He said he was surprised 
to find a physician talk so of his patient, for that from Hahn's man- 
ner of talking, Mademoiselle de Zuylen seemed to be crazy. I was 
vexed at this. Richardson's sound, hard knowledge entertained me 
well. We supped tete a tete. 

[Received c. 12 June 1764, Lord Marischal to Boswell] 

Rotterdam, 11 June [1764] 

LORD MARISCHAL'S compliments to Mr. Boswell, whom he hopes 
to have the pleasure to see the 13th at Utrecht, and shall stay two 
nights, to wait on Mrs. Brown and give her a day to jobeler avec son 
amie* Madame de Froment 

* "To frolic with her friend." Jobeler (which I find recorded only with the 
spelling jobler) is slang. 

284 13^01764 

WEDNESDAY 13 JUNE. 5 I carried Richardson to dine at the 
Plaats Royaal, my old eating table. I was lumpish and dreary. I 
wished to be rid of Richardson. I thought my being obliged to en- 
tertain him a most laborious task. So discontented a mortal am I. 
My fancy forms plans. I execute them. They prove insipid. He and 
I walked. I complained to him of black ideas of religion. He said, 
"You think too much." At eight Lord Marischal arrived. I imme- 
diately waited upon him, and found him the plain old Scots noble- 
man. He had with him Madame de Froment, a Turkish lady who 
was taken prisoner by Marshal Keith at the siege of Otchakov in 
the year 1 733. My Lord has educated her just as his own daughter, 
and has married her to a French gentleman. 6 I introduced to his 
Lordship Richardson and Brown. They supped with me. 

THURSDAY 4 JUNE. At ten Lord Marischal honoured me 
with a visit, as did Monsieur de Zuylen, whom I had promised to 
present to my Lord. Was I not well? I then again met Zelide at her 
music master's. I was proud and solemn. She gave me her confes- 
sion of faith, which I found elegant but slight. She threw out the 
common objections against revelation. She was a poetical sceptic. 
One great objection was that Christ says of his Gospel, "They that 
believe shall be saved; but they that believe not shall be damned." 
Richardson said people did not know what was meant by damna- 
tion. For his part, he considered that those who believe not shall be 
damned in no other sense but that they shall be as those who never 

5 "This day, get up soon. Think. Pay all. Ducat, Marion. Books, Carron and 
Bonnet" (Memorandum for this day. Marion was Mrs. Brown's maid). 

6 Lord Marischal's younger brother, James Keith, after the failure of the 
Jacobite uprising of 1715, held high commands successively in the Span- 
ish and Russian services, then became a field-marshal in the Prussian Army 
and Frederick the Great's most trusted general. He was killed in 1758 at 
the battle of Hochkirch. The siege of Otchakov occurred in 1737, not 1733; 
in it Keith was seriously wounded. Emet-Ulla (at this time thirty-nine 
years old) was the daughter of a Turkish chief- janissary. In 1763 she had been 
converted to Protestant Christianity, and had married Denis-Daniel de 
Froment, a lieutenant-colonel in the Sardinian service. They were later 

14 June 1764 285 

had the happiness to hear of Christ. "For," said he, "Christ has dif- 
fused salvation c to all men.' This is the light which lighteth every 
man that cometh into the world.' " In short, I find every man has 
his own Christianity. 

At two I had a chaise and drove Richardson out to Zuylen, 
where we dined. Zelide and I had a long conversation. She said she 
did not care for respect. She liked to have everybody free with her, 
and that they should tell her her faults. I told her that this was very 
wrong; for she would hardly find a husband of merit who had not 
some pride, and who would not be hurt at finding people so free 
with his wife. 7 1 owned to her that I was very sorry to leave her. 
She gave me many a tender look. We took a kind farewell, as I did 
of all the family. Monsieur de Zuylen and I talked a long time. I 
am sure he liked me. He has been exceedingly civil to me. Richard- 
son could not well understand Zelide and me. "It is lucky," said 
Mr. Chaplain to me, "that you are to be no longer together; for you 
would learn her nonsense, and she would learn yours." He was 
right. Our airy speculating is not thinking. 

Richardson left me this evening. I went to Brown's, where I 
found my good Lord Marischal, who told us many good stories of 
miracles in Spain, from whence I could well see that his lordship 
was none of the most orthodox. Madame de Froment was indis- 
posed, which kept my Lord still at Utrecht. 

FRIDAY 15 JUNE. I took cordial farewell of old Fencer Cirx 
and bid him live till he was past one hundred. After breakfast I 
waited on Lord Marischal, who told us many stories with a calm, 
cheerful vivacity that pleased me immensely. Hahn was charmed. 
He and I walked together. He said Zelide had no use of her reason- 
ing powers. That she had no pleasure in realities. All must be ideal, 

7 The memorandum shows that Boswell was actually not so abstract: "After 
dinner, talked fully to Zelide, who owned she wanted not respect. But you 
said, 'A husband /, for instance would be miserable to have people snub 
his wife.' " Belle reported this conversation or probably summarized many 
similar conversations in one of her letters to Constant d'Hennenches. See 
p. 381. 

286 15 June 

all visionary. She was not a bit amused with the most ingenious 

chemical experiments. 8 In short, my fair friend is an unhappy 

existence. I dined with Brown. Madame Brown is now lying in. 

Lord Marischal drank coffee with us, and was as entertaining as 


SATURDAY 16 JUNE. I dined tete a tete with Brown. I had 
heard that Madame de Froment had got no agreeable character of 
me, and imagined me a misanthrope. She wanted to make acquaint- 
ance with me before we set out on our long journey. I went with 
her and Mademoiselle Kinloch to Van Mollem's Gardens, 9 and 
then returned to Brown's, walked, and went to Oblet's, where I 
wished the Turk a good night, leaving her possessed with different 
sentiments of me, her fellow-traveller. At night I found myself 
hurried, having journal to bring up, accounts to settle, letters to 
write. I intended to sit up. But my nerves failed me. I lay naked on 
the hard floor with a coverlet above me. Was not this madness? At 
last I went to bed. 

SUNDAYIJJUNE. Brown's child was baptized in the English 
church. Lord Marischal was the parrain. I was sour and gloomy. 
I was just in a Scots country kirk. 1 We all drank coffee at Madame 
Brown's. It was agreeable to see a family happy on the increase 
of the species, &c. But it gave no pleasure to me. 

At six Lord Marischal, Madame de Froment, Mademoiselle 
Kinloch, and I drove to Zuylen, where we drank tea before the 
gate in the open air. Zelide said to me, "Are you back again? We 
made a touching adieu." She gave me a letter which she had 
written to me, on my departure, and bid me not read it till I was 
just going. She and I and Madame de Froment in one cbach, 
Madame de Zuylen, Lord Marischal, and Mademoiselle Kinloch 

8 Boswell remembered this and put it (with a not very decent comment of his 
own) into the draft of a letter to Belle, though he appears to have deleted it 
in the letter actually sent. See p. 317. 

9 On the Vecht, the gardens of a prosperous silk manufacturer. Then one of 
the sights of Utrecht. 

1 So sour and gloomy that he preferred not to mention the fact that he was 
joint godfather. See p. 376. The child was a girl. 

i/ June 1764 287 

in another, went and saw a beautiful campagne 2 on the way to 
Amsterdam. Zelide seemed much agitated, said she had never 
been in love, but said that one might meet with un homrne 
aimable, &c., &c. 9 &c., for whom one might feel a strong affection, 
which would probably be lasting, but this amiable man might not 
have the same affection for one. In short she spoke too plain to 
leave me in doubt that she really loved me. But then away she 
went with her wild fancy, saying that she thought only of the 
present moment. "I had rather feel than think. I should like to 
have a husband who would let me go away sometimes to amuse 
myself." In short, she seemed a frantic libertine. She said to me, 
"Sir, if you see the Count of Anhalt, don't speak to him of me. He 
may some day be my husband." 3 She. gave me her hand at parting, 
and the tender tear stood crystal in her eye. Poor Zelide! I took 
hearty leave at Brown's. I was sorry to leave the scene of much 
internal exercise. I sat up all night. 

[Boswell to Temple] 

Utrecht, 1 7 June 1 764 

MY DEAR TEMPLE, ... I now sit down a very happy man. I 
am neither high nor low. I am quite free from hypochondria. I 
have a fine gentle flow of spirits. I hope to show you this by my 
manner of writing. You have asked me for a letter on the present 
state of the Dutch, which I can only make out by giving you some 
detached observations, from which, however, you may form a 
tolerable idea of what you wish to know. 

The Dutch, like all other republican states, have never con- 

2 That is, a maison de campagne, a country-house with a garden. 

3 Friedrich Count of Anhalt, the son by a morganatic marriage of the Heredi- 
tary Prince of Anhalt-Dessau, was in the Prussian service; he was at this time 
Frederick's aide-de-camp and later became his Adjutant General. He had 
never seen Belle de Zuyleri, but Henri Alexandre de Catt, a Swiss who had 
been tutor to her brothers and then had gone to Potsdam as reader to Fred- 
erick, had sung her praises so effectively that the Count had made over- 
tures of marriage and was proposing a trip to Utrecht. 

288 17 June 1764 

tinned long in the same situation as to riches and felicity. But, be- 
sides the usual disadvantages of having the supreme power in a 
great many hands, this nation has been remarkably precarious on 
account of its subsisting entirely by trade, which renders it abso- 
lutely dependent on foreign states. Formerly their trade was ex- 
ceedingly extensive. Not only had they the sole market for several 
sorts of Indian merchandise, but they furnished many of the most 
necessary manufactures to the greatest part of Europe, Hence was 
the spirit of industry so universally diffused amongst this people. 
Hence they became so rich and so powerful. Now the case is very 
much altered. The English share with them the Indian trade, and 
the other nations manufacture for themselves. While the Dutch 
had the universal trade, the States loaded with exorbitant taxes the 
necessaries of life, knowing that the manufacturers would propor- 
tionably heighten the price of their labour, so that the nations who 
purchased their goods should in reality furnish the public money. 
When those nations began to work themselves, the States should 
undoubtedly have lowered their taxes, and by selling at a moderate 
price have prevented the progress of manufactures in other coun- 
tries. But the griping disposition of the Batavian government was 
greater than their wisdom. The taxes continued the same, so that 
in a little time the other nations, where living was not so dear, were 
able to undersell the Dutch in some of their principal commodities. 
Nay, so great is the difference that French, but particularly Eng- 
lish, cloth is sold cheaper here than cloth made in the country, 
although the imposts upon foreign cloth are very high. Several of 
the Dutch regiments are clothed with English manufacture. 

In such circumstances this trading nation must be in a very bad 
way. Most of their principal towns are sadly decayed, and instead 
of finding every mortal employed, you meet with multitudes of 
poor creatures who are starving in idleness. Utrecht is remarkably 
ruined. There are whole lanes of wretches who have no other sub- 
sistence than potatoes, gin, and stuff which they call tea and coffee; 
and what is worst of all, I believe they are so habituated to this life 
that they would not take work if it should be offered to them. The 

17 June 1764 289 

Hague is a beautiful and elegant place. It is, however, by no means 
a Dutch town; the simplicity and plain honesty of the old Hol- 
landers has given way to the show and politeness of the French, 
with this difference, that a Frenchman is <truly at> ease, whereas 
the Dutchman is <as y>et but a painful imitator. Luxury prevails 
much both at The Hague and among the rich merchants at 

You see, then, that things are very different here from what 
most people in England imagine. Were Sir William Temple to re- 
visit these Provinces, he would scarcely believe the amazing altera- 
tion which they have undergone. The Magistrates' places in most 
of the "towns, which in his time were filled up by worthy, substan- 
tial citizens who were burgomasters for honour and not for profit, 
are now filled up by hungry fellows who take them for bread and 
squeeze as much as they can from the inhabitants. The contests 
with respect to the Stadtholder are now over. Almost all the men of 
weight have acceded to the Court, except the citizens of Amster- 
dam, who must always wish to be free from any superior power. 
The present Prince of Orange will be of age two years hence. What 
changes he may produce, I cannot say. But surely he has it in his 
power to do a great deal. The universities here are much fallen. In 
short, the Seven Provinces would require the powers of all the 
politicians that they ever had to set them right again. 

After politics what say you to the fair? I delivered your respects 
with all due enthusiasm to Mademoiselle de Zuylen. She was much 
pleased. I gave her a sketch of your character, which I believe she 
will not easily forget. It struck her not a little; and my expressions 
of friendship pleased her because they seemed romantic. Temple, 
be assured that I could have this angelic creature for my wife. But 
she has such an imagination that I pity the man who puts his head 
in her power. For my part, I choose to be safe. I shall write you 
more of her. 

18 June, four in the morning. Two hours hence, my friend, 
away I go. Farewell once more, my dear Temple. Yours ever, 


2 go i8 June 1764 

MONDAY 1 8 JUNE. My wakeful night well past, I was in glow 
of spirits. Zelide's letter was long and warm. She imagined me in 
love with her, and with much romantic delicacy talked of this 
having rendered her distraite. I was honest or simple enough to 
leave her a short letter, assuring her that I was not amoureux, but 
would always be her fidele ami* 

I had all my affairs in order. Honest Carron came and took 
leave of me. And next comes a most flagrant whim. Some days ago 
I called to me Frangois, told him that he had served me honestly 
and well, and that I could give him a good character as a servant. I 
said I hoped that I had been a good master. To know this certainly, 
I ordered him to write out a full character of me, since he entered 
to my service, and charged him to mark equally the bad and the 
good which he had observed, and to give it me carefully sealed up. 
I accordingly received it this morning. 

I took leave of my house in which I have had such an infinity of 
ideas. At seven we set out in a coach and four. . . . 

[Received 18 June 1764, Francois Mazerac to Boswell. 
Original in French] 6 

Utrecht, 1 7 June 1 764 

MONSIEUR: My small ability makes it almost impossible for 
me to comply with your orders, and I hope that Monsieur will take 
my remarks kindly and regard them as coming from a person who 
is only trying to obey you. 

First: I have found that Monsieur is extremely negligent about 
his money, his watch, and other effects, in leaving them on the 
table, or in leaving the key on the bureau, and going out of the 
room leaving the door open, as happened several times at The 
Hague. If it should ever happen that you have the misfortune to 
lose something in this way, you might entertain suspicions of your 

* The entire correspondence with Zlide is collected below, pp. 293-385. 

5 Francois's spelling and punctuation are so amusing that I have ventured to 

print his letter below, p. 394, without editing. 

i8 June 1764 291 

servant or some other innocent person. There is a saying, "Oppor- 
tunity makes the thief." 

Secondly: I have found that Monsieur has a good heart, in 
doing good to the poor: a virtue which is dictated by humanity and 
prescribed by religion. 

Thirdly: Monsieur is not at all given to backbiting, a vice very 
common among great minds. 

Fourthly: 6 Very punctual in performing the duties of your 
religion, by going to church, not swearing, and above all by saying 
your prayers every morning. 

Fifthly: I have found that when Monsieur has invited com- 
pany, the guests always arrived before you, which might expose 
you to some reproach, especially in another country where they 
care more for social formalities than they do here. 

Sixthly: I have found that Monsieur applies himself too much 
to study, which is noble in itself but ruinous to health if not done 

Seventhly: I find that Monsieur goes to bed too late, which, 
with the study, will make you lose your health, which Monsieur 
will regret when it is too late and there is no help for it. 

Eighthly and last item: I have found in Monsieur a really 
Christian and noble heart, especially towards me, which I shall 
never forget. May the Father of fathers take you under His holy 
protection, and keep His eye on you, guarding you as a beloved 
child. May He guide your steps and direct your thoughts, so that no 
harm may come to you, and that when you have returned home 
safe and sound, you will bless Him therefor eternally. 

I end by thanking Monsieur again for all his goodness, begging 
him to think of me sometimes. As for me, I believe I shall never 
forget Monsieur. Permit me to beg you, Monsieur, that, should 
you ever have a chance, you will let me know how you are. Your 
very grieved and faithful servant, 


6 Francois's original has two "Thirdly s." 

JBelle d& Zuylen (Zelidc) about 1766, from a drawing 
by Maurice Qu&ntin d& La Tour, in the Louvre. 

L^orreovonaence witn 
ae Zuylen ( ^zliae/ ana 



INTRODUCTION. 1 Isabella Agneta Elisabeth van Tuyll, Belle de 
Zuylen, or "Zelide," belonged to one of the oldest families in Hol- 
land. For six hundred years the Van Tuylls had upheld their noble 
rank with a conscious rectitude. Her father, Diederik Jacob van 
Tuyll van Serooskerken, Lord of Zuylen and Westbroek, Marshal 
of Montfoort, owned estates a few miles from Utrecht. He was one 
of the governors of the Province, a man remarkable, even in his 
own scrupulous world, for integrity and service of the state. In his 
moated castle on the Vecht, and in his sedate town-house, Zelide 
grew up, chastened by the decorum and restraint of the seven- 
teenth century which still lingered there, unmodified by the lapse 
of generations. Family pride, the deeper for a provincial simplicity, 
enclosed her in its distinguished prison. At the time of BoswelFs 
arrival she was twenty-three years of age. Society at Utrecht and 
The Hague was perplexed, ruffled, or entertained by the uncon- 
ventioiiality of Monsieur de Zuylen's daughter. She had just writ- 
ten and printed Le Noble, an anonymous satire on the prejudices 
of caste. 2 Heraldically minded seigneurs could find no precedent 

1 By the late Geoffrey Scott, slightly revised by Frederick A. Pottle. This essay 
was first published in 1928 in Colonel Isham's privately printed Private 
Papers of James BoswelL The notes that follow are all by Frederick A. Pottle 
unless Mr. Scott's name is attached. 

2 Perhaps "was just writing and was about to print." Le Noble bears the 


294 Boswell and Belle de Zuylen 

in their experience for a young lady writing, still less publishing, a 
conte in the style of Voltaire's Candide, particularly if its irony was 
at their expense. Her conversation, though respectful in tone and 
even deferential when addressed to themselves (for Zelide was 
willing to please) took distressing turns; orthodoxy was ignored and 
flouted; rank made light of; religion chastity even treated as an 
open question; she talked inappropriately for her sex and years and 
she talked too fast and too much. She carried on clandestine cor- 
respondences, and, owing to the transparency of her character, she 
seldom erred without being found out. u Une demoiselle cela!" 3 
was the protest of offended dowagers. Yet frankness and good na- 
ture were assigned to her credit and she was a Van Tuyll: as such 
she could be neither accounted for nor condoned; still less could she 
be ignored. 

Belle de Zuylen, exasperated by the tedium of Dutch still-life 
("Ici," she complained, 'Ton est vif tout seul") , 4 scanned the hori- 
zon of Utrecht for any object that might be moving, animated, or 
odd. In the autumn of 1 763 she could not fail to recognize that such 
an object had appeared. Boswell had arrived, dressed in silver and 

imprint Amsterdam, 1763, but I do not know that the exact date of its pub- 
lication has been fixed. The first reference to it in Belle's correspondence 
with Constant d'Hermenches occurs in a letter dated 10 January 1764. It 
seems to me more likely that Le Noble appeared after Boswell's arrival in 
Utrecht than before, and that he was witness to the scandal it caused. The 
story runs as follows. Julie, daughter of the Baron d'Arnonville, a stiff and 
stupid representative of the ancicnne noblesse, is in love with young Valain- 
court, a recent noble, his father having received his title for distinguished 
services to the state. Knowing that the Baron d'Arnonville will never listen 
to her lover's suit unless he believes him to be descended from an ancient 
family, Julie, a level-headed girl, arranges matters satisfactorily for a time 
by announcing airily that Valaincourt is descended from Rinaldo, the 
legendary foe of Charlemagne. When this genealogy explodes and she is 
locked up, she escapes out of the window to her lover, after throwing down 
several of the family portraits to fill a mud hole underneath. u She had never 

believed that one could get so much support from one's grandfathers She 

was happy, and her sons were not chevaliers." 3 "That a young lady!" 
4 "Here one has to be lively all by one's self," 

Boswell and Belle de Zuylen 295 

green; an introduction from Sir David Dalrymple to Count Nas- 
sau had placed him in the circle of Zelide's friends and relations. 
He commended himself to her at once by his originality. "J'etais 
prevenue pour vous," she later confessed. "Mais moi pas pour 
vous," he had replied, with the frankness in which she delighted. 5 
The interplay of the two characters is clear. Boswell had come to 
Utrecht full of plans and circumspection. The new influence of 
Johnson was in its earliest force; he must be serious, and be taken 
seriously; he pictured himself as the future Laird of Auchinleck, 
propping the established order of things. He was determined to cut 
a dignified figure, to commend himself on terms of equality to the 
best society of Holland. He found in that society a general verdict 
that Zelide was unmaidenly and unbalanced. He assumed from the 
start an attitude of reproof. Zelide was, in any case, not of the type 
he favoured. He desired society ladies to be conspicuously grandes 
dames, stimulating in his mind a feudal "group of ideas"; Zelide 
laughed at all such pretensions. Or else they should pay a visibly 
palpitating tribute to his sex. Irony put him at a disadvantage; he 
mistrusted it deeply; as for metaphysics, "speculations of that kind 
in a woman are more ridiculous than I choose to express." 

For the first months at Utrecht the acquaintance was indiffer- 
ently pursued. The occasional comments in Boswell's casual mem- 
oranda are cautious or disparaging. "You passed three hours at 
Brown's with Miss de Zuylen. You was too much off guard" (12 

November 1 763) "Miss de Zuylen. You was shocked or rather 

offended with her unlimited vivacity. You was on your guard" (28 
November 1763). Zelide, on her side, was tolerably well occupied 
with a number of suitors, a clandestine epistolary intimacy with 
Constant d'Hcrmcnches, and an elaborate plot to mam- his friend, 
the Marquis de Bellegarde. The sententious young Scotchman, 
awkwardly masking his native drollery by what he conceived to be 
a demeanour of Spanish pride, afforded her friendly amusement 
and no more. 

Nevertheless, if Zelide shocked Boswell's conventional preju- 

5 See p. 128. 

296 Boswell and Belle de Zuylen 

dices, the Van Tuylls as a family were everything he approved; 
they very worthily held their part in the Great Scheme of Subordi- 
nation which was BoswelTs philosophy, and Zelide was a consider- 
able heiress. Finding himself well received, and observing that 
Zelide had, after all, some devoted friends and could occasionally 
be quiet and "retenue," he placed her tentatively on his probation- 
ary list of wives. Here he had many misgivings: "Zelide was nerv- 
ish. You saw she would make a sad wife, and propagate wretches" 
(Memorandum, 18 April). In any case Madame Geelvinck, a 
young, soft, rich widow, was to be preferred. An inconclusive 
courtship of la Veuve filled the last weeks of his Dutch residence; 
but this tended rather to give his friendship with Belle de Zuylen a 
romantic colour, since the two ladies were friends and frequently 
found together. Such was the situation when Boswell drove out to 
the castle on 14 June 1 764 to pay his farewell visit. Belle de Zuylen 
saw one more of her few human amusements on the point of van- 
ishing. Boswell, dressed up for his visile de conge, comical and 
warm-hearted, bows himself away from the portcullis. The "odd 
and lovable" could not in her narrow world be lost without a pang. 6 
At this point, on 14 June 1 764, four days before Bos well's actual 
departure from Utrecht, begins the correspondence here printed; 
it continued over a period of four years. From Utrecht Boswell 
went in Lord Marischal's company to Berlin, where he spent the 
summer. He then made a tour of several of the German courts, and 
visited Switzerland, where he obtained interviews with both Rous- 
seau and Voltaire. Early in January, 1765, he crossed into Italy, 
remaining there, with a momentous excursion into Corsica, almost 
a year. In December, 1 765, he turned his steps towards Scotland, 
reaching Paris in January, 1766. He had intended to stay there 
some time and then to go home by way of Holland, so as to see 
Zelide again, but abandoned these plans upon receiving news of his 
mother's death and a plea from his father to come home at once. By 
March, 1 766, he was again in Scotland, from which he had been 
absent more than three years. The correspondence with Zelide 
e The remainder of the Introduction is by Frederick A. Pottle. 

Boswell and Belle de Zuylen 297 

lapsed for some time. He was admitted a member of the Scottish 
bar in July, 1 766, and after that date, for the next twenty years, was 
kept busy in Edinburgh by his legal practice during the terms of 
the courts. Zelide visited London in the autumn and winter of 
1766-1767, at a period of the year when Boswell, even if he had 
known in time of her being there, could have paid her no more than 
a flying visit, but she did not write to him. It was he who took the 
first step towards re-opening the correspondence. The Reverend 
Mr. Brown of Utrecht made a visit to Scotland in the summer of 
1 767, and when he returned, Boswell gave him a letter to Zelide 
proposing that they should write to each other. Boswell was at this 
time committed to a scheme of marrying a Scots heiress, Miss Blair. 
But Miss Blair refused him, and his appealing and very successful 
book on Corsica, published early in 1 768, revived Zelide's affection 
and respect. The comedy ended in a flurry of letters exchanged in 
the spring of 1 768, while Boswell was in London, whither he had 
gone to savour the success of the Account of Corsica. But there re- 
mained an epilogue: a letter from Mr. Brown, written more than a 
year later, giving him news of Zelide and his old servant, Frangois. 

[i. Belle de Zuylen to Boswell. Original in French] 7 

[Zuylen] Thursday 14 June [1764] 11 o'clock 
IN SPITE OF ALL YOUR PHILOSOPHY, you are singularly curious, 
my friend, to find out what my feelings are about you. It would 
perhaps be more dignified in you not to say so; but I have no regard 
for dignity, and I despise the art which you revere so much. I am 
ready to afford you this pleasure because I desire your happiness; 
and pleasure is a part of happiness. Besides, it is natural to me to say 
what I feel and what I think. 

Well, then, I should tell you that there is a man 8 in the world 

7 Translation by Geoffrey Scott, who also translated letters Nos. 2, 3, 5, 9, 12, 
!3 *5 *7> an <* *9 below. These translations originally appeared in the second 
volume of Colonel Isham's privately printed Private Papers of James Boswell. 

8 The Marquis de Bellegarde, a man much older than herself, whom she had 

298 From Belle de Zuylen ( 1 4 June 1 764 ) 

(I do not think that you know him) of whom I usually think at 
night, in the morning, and sometimes dining the day. For three or 
four days past I have thought of him less often. Do you guess why? 
It is because you, my philosophical friend, appeared to me to be 
experiencing the agitation of a lover. Had you always shown your- 
self a cold and grave mortal such as you require my husband to be, 
you would not have caused me a single minute's distraction. I am 
affected by your departure; I have thought of you all the evening. 
I find you odd and lovable. I have a higher regard for you than for 
any one, and I am proud of being your friend. Are you not satisfied? 

What I find less admirable in you is to have so quickly rid your- 
self of those generous scruples for which you took so much credit to 
yourself the other day. <l The circumstances were the same today: 
iny father showed you the same friendship; why did you not reason 
as you did before? Admit that it is only a question of degree: our 
inclinations only require a certain degree of force to get the better 
of our principles and to make us forget our duty; or else they seduce 
our minds, and then we alter our ideas. It would be a much finer 
plan to address yourself to my father, adding to each of your letters 
to him a letter for me, unsealed, in which you shall preach morality 
and religion. 1 would not reply to you, because that would not be 
correct; but you could always go on preaching and it is possible 
that the improvement you desire might be effected. 

Good-bye, I am going to bed. 

If you do not like my plan, and I am to go on writing to you, I 
shall write with the utmost freedom. With libertines I am rigid 
and reserved, but I can afford to be free with a discreet friend, with 
a prudent man so prudent that he would refuse supreme happi- 
ness if it were offered to him, out of fear of not being equally happy 
all the days of his life. For my own part, I dare not flatter myself 

determined to marry, though she had actually seen very little of him and was 
finding him a very sluggish suitor. 

9 Boswell had said that he would not correspond with her surreptitiously 
because of his respect for her father. 

From Belle de Zuylen ( 14 June 1 764) 299 

that Providence has such riches of felicity in store for me that I 
have only to choose between them; I think I shall take hold of the 
first happiness that may present itself. My thought will perhaps be, 
"If this one does not last, well, after this, . . . another." 


Friday morning 

You believe that out of mere goodness, out of compassion, a 
woman, such as I am, might be weak; I believe you are mistaken. 
To sympathize with the pains of love, you must share in its feel- 
ings. If a man should say, "I love you and I suffer," it would not 
excite much sympathy in me unless my heart suffered like his and 
felt the same desires. Even supposing a keen feeling of pity, a 
woman who understands what love means would not, out of pity 
alone, accord the last of the gifts which love has to bestow: the lover 
one merely pities will not obtain what is hardly obtained by the 
lover whom one loves. We are inclined to get the most we can out 
of our weaknesses: we forgive ourselves more readily for our lapses 
in proportion as they make us happy. I could say many other things 
on this head; for, though one's conduct may be irreproachable, one 
knows a great deal about the subject when the senses teach the soul 
all the feelings of which they are capable, and the imagination lets 
no one of them pass without extending it to the full. 

In my present humour I do not regard the advice of selecting a 
cold husband as the wisest of your propositions. If I am much in 
love with my husband, and he with me, it is at least possible that I 
shall not fall in love with another; if we were but little in love, I 
would certainly love some one else. My spirit is formed to have 
strong feelings, and will assuredly not escape its destiny. If I had 
neither father nor mother, as I said to you the other day, I would 
not get married. You explained to me the wickedness of such a 
course; but I should run the risk of doing much more harm by tak- 
ing any other. Besides, to make up for this smallest injury in the 
world, I would do all the good in my power: I would restrict the 
harm within the narrowest limits and extend the good to my ut- 

300 From Belle de Zuylen ( 1 5 June 1 764 ) 

most. I should send my daughters away from me, if I had any, lest 
they should resemble me; iriy sons would be less ill-advised in re- 
sembling me, and I would make them my chief care. Nothing, 
nothing, would be neglected in their education which could make 
them useful and happy members of society; I would do so much for 
them that no one could reproach them with their birth, and the 
world would be forced to thank me for it. But I have a father and 
a mother whom I do not wish to bring to the grave and whose life I 
do not wish to render miserable. 

What course should I take? I do not know. One must live from 
day to day, be guided by one's heart and by circumstances; not 
reason too much; sleep peacefully; amuse oneself, and follow one's 
inclinations when they do not lead straight into crime. Some weeks 
ago, when I was with Madame Hasselaer 1 and Monsieur Rendorp 
(he is one of my best friends and her best friend, and the most de- 
cent man I know) , I said much that was wild, in my usual way, 
blended with much that was reasonable. I was dressing, and the 
point came when they had to leave. Madame Hasselaer's last words 
were that I was the strangest creature she had ever seen, and that if 
I ended by being worthless after all I had received from heaven, I 
should be a thousand times more culpable than another woman. 
"Not at all," said Monsieur Rendorp; "GoD has surely excused her. 
In this world it would work out very badly; but I assure you in the 
next world it can all be arranged." 

I should be well pleased with a husband who would take me as 
his mistress: I should say to him, "Do not look on faithfulness as a 
duty: so long as I have more charm, more wit, more gaiety than 
another, so long as I arn ready to act plays, to sing and play the 
harpsichord better than another, in order to please you, you will 
prefer me out of inclination; that is all I desire; and you on your 
side should have none but the rights and jealousies of a lover. If 
you wish me to love you always, the only way is to be always 

1 Cousin of "la Veuve" (Madame Geelvinck), and one of Belle de Zuylen's 
most ultimate friends. Boswell did not like her. 

From Belle de Zuylen (15 June 1764) 301 

You are now well up in my ideas on this subject. What would 
D'Hermenches and his like say if such a letter as this were to fall 
into their hands! What advantage they would expect to take of it! 
But I am writing to Cato. Cato's friend is very unlike him, but loves 
him much. 


You are still in Utrecht: that makes something of a difference. 
This letter is more suited to be posted than given into your hands. 
But no matter. On my first page I expressed myself rather badly 
when I said that my heart had been distracted from its usual in- 
clination because I noticed in you the agitation of a lover. Not all 
agitations, thank GOD, are infectious. One must have some disposi- 
tion of sympathy for that to happen. If between two good friends 
one remembers he is a man, the other naturally enough remembers 
she is a woman: a few days' absence should be sufficient to enable 
both to forget it. 

Write to me, not often, but write long letters; and address 
them to Spruyt, the bookseller. I will send every fortnight to him 
to ask if there is anything for me. It will not matter if the end of 
your letters contradicts the beginning: when one knows human 
nature, one is not surprised to see contradictions in what is un- 
studied. Write your rapid thoughts in English; when you wish to 
make grave reflections, the dictionary will do less harm, and you 
may write in French. I will do the same; that is to say, the oppo- 
site. Give me always your exact address for towns where you in- 
tend a long visit. Be very careful, and remember that all my peace 
of mind depends on it. Do not ever be so absent-minded as to send 
your letters to my father's house. But would you not do well to 
write to him from Berlin that you have seen Monsieur Catt, 2 &c.? 
and you will tell him to give me your respects. 

Good-bye, I have said everything; or at least I have said much. 

2 Henri Alexandra de Catt had been domestic tutor to Belle's brothers. Fred- 
erick the Great of Prussia, travelling incognito in Holland, had met him on a 
canal boat, and had been so much pleased with him that he had invited him to 
Potsdam as French reader. See also p. 287 n. 8. 

302 To Belle de Zuylen ( 1 8 June 1 764 ) 

[2. Boswell to Belle de Zuylen. Original in French] 3 

Utrecht, 18 June 1764 

You MAY WELL BELIEVE, my dear Zelide, that I am very much 
flattered by your interesting letter. But I must admit that you 
have given me some anxiety. You say that I "appear to you to have 
the agitation of a lover." I am extremely sorry for this. My sin- 
cerity, or perhaps my extreme simplicity, prevents me from leav- 
ing Utrecht without frankly enlightening you on this subject. 

I have told you several times what my sentiments are towards 
you. I admire your mind. I love your goodness. But I am not in 
love with you. I swear to you I am not. I speak strongly because 
you have given me reason to think that your peace of mind may 
be involved. In such circumstances one must not stand on cere- 

I am your faithful friend. I shall always be, if you allow me. If 
I can be of the least use to you, you will have a proof of how much 
I am yours. To be in correspondence with Zelide will be a great 
pleasure to me. Good-bye. 4 

[3. Belle de Zuylen to Boswell. Original in French] 

[Zuylen] Monday evening, 18 June 1764 
So MUCH THE BETTER MY FRIEND; all the better if I made a mis- 
take. I am not the least mortified by having remained in error for 
three days. Nor am I the least annoyed to have thought less, dur- 

3 All the letters by Boswell in this series, except Nos. 4 and 19, are drafts 
or copies. 

* Among the memoranda is the following, headed "Nymwegen Memo- 
randum,'* consequently written on the same day as this letter: "In sweet fine 
spirits you saw all well. You adored GOD. You resolved to have uniform 
command of passions; to keep up the character which Zelide has; to suffer 
in silence and never to own; never to be too strict; to judge by reason always, 
but get command of self. Habit is much. Now form above all retenue. Be fine 
with Zelide; love her." The "character which Zelide has" probably means 
"the character which Zelide believes you to have." 

From Belle de Zuylen (18 June 1 764) 303 

ing three days, of the man I love. Your friendship is more worth 
having than love. You are to be esteemed all the more that you are 
able to feel as you describe; I on my side am more flattered that you 
should feel towards me in that way. As for your peace of mind and 
my owr> (as I understood the matter) , these were never in danger. 
What I wrote on Thursday evening was perfectly true when I 
wrote it: on Friday it appeared to me less true. I had slept well; I 
was no longer clear whether I had believed you to be in love with 
me, whether I had believed myself to be a little inclined to love 
you: all that appeared to me more or less a dream. On Sunday it 
appeared to me more or less an untruth. I felt some scruple in 
giving you my letter: I would have liked to have torn off the first 
page. But that would have been to destroy it all. I thought, "The 
date is my justification: what I wrote at evening on Thursday 
is what I thought at evening on Thursday. With Monsieur Boswell, 
there is no need for prudence. Give him the letter; it is an act of 
frankness, it is the diary of the heart of a live and feeling woman." 
I told you that two or three days' absence would make us forget the 
difference that Nature creates between friends of different sexes. 
You did not need to forget, since you had never remembered. In my 
case it is already entirely forgotten, but I shall always remember 
the excellent advice that your pure and disinterested affection 

My friendship is yours for ever: count on it, however much you 
may think me fickle. I count on the stability of your feelings as on 
that of the rocks which GOD placed on the surface of the earth when 
he created the world. On my side I will be a little more tender one 
day than another, but every day you will be dear to me; every day 
I shall think as you said yesterday, "I am amusing myself, but if 
Monsieur Boswell were here it would be better still." On Thursday 
I was much touched by your going away. When you had left me, I 
remained alone for some time in a deep reverie; then I went for a 
turn in the carriage, and I spoke to my brother of nothing but you. 
Yesterday there was no reverie: I played comet, 5 and told stories to 
6 A card game. 

304 From Belle de Zuylen ( 1 8 June 1 764 ) 

my father. Yet I was not less fond of you than on Thursday; I was 
not less inclined to sacrifice a part of my happiness to yours; my 
heart was not less regretful of your departure. 

Where, then, comes in the difference? I beg you not to accuse 
my heart: it is, I fancy, an affair of temperament; it depends on the 
wind or on the sun, and perhaps on the stomach. Why did Caesar 
neglect to conquer your islands? "Perhaps," says Pope, "he had 
not dined." Whether I have dined or not, I promise you that the 
bottom of my heart will always be the same towards you. I hope, 
all your life, you will be glad of it and it will never be an enigma 
to you. I am unwilling your ideas about it should depend on the 
false penetration of a Monsieur Reynst. 6 I am very glad to have 
told you everything and I will always be equally frank with you. 

And now I must go to bed. I hope to sleep as peacefully as last 
night. It would be a very pleasant thing for once to think of no one, 
at least for a few days. But this wretched man that I love does not 
leave me in calm for long. He soon resumes his full rights. What I 
told you yesterday is not a fiction. Every word of it is truth; but no, 
I told you that you did not know him, and that is not at all certain. 
In fact it is very clear you have seen him; but fearing that his 
appearance is not of a kind to please you, I was unwilling either to 
describe him or to name him to you. He is a Roman Catholic, and 
my parents are Calvinists. I have loved him for two years, and I 
love him much. He has less imagination than I: he has not the same 
flight of passion, but he has a delicacy of taste, a cultivated, subtle, 
and just mind, a tender heart, a quiet and indolent vanity. How 
happy it makes me when I write verses to think he will read them! 
When he reads them he is very happy that I love him. But I am 
mad not to go to bed. Good-bye, good-bye. 

19 June 

I forgot yesterday to thank you for your letter, though these 
thanks should have been the very first words of mine. Your letter, 
you now see, was not in point of fact quite so necessary; but the 

c See p. 279. 

From Belle de Zuylen ( 1 9 June 1 764 ) 305 

motive which prompted it is worthy of you; that is to say, it was 
dictated by a most perfect and generous honesty. Not to fall short 
of you, I will not keep you waiting for this reply, which ought to 
put your mind completely at ease. I will send it to Bentinck, so that 
you may get it quickly. I shall not write to you again for some time; 
clandestine letters keep me up too late. I look to your guidance to 
cure me of this libertine habit. But you must write to me by day- 
light everything that comes into your head; thoughts born in 
England and thoughts born in France, I shall understand them 
all, for they will all be fellow citizens of my thoughts. Mine belong 
to every country. 

Put what you write into a first envelope addressed to me, and 
enclose that in a cover where my name must not appear, made out 
To Monsieur Spruyt, Bookseller in the Koor Straat, Utrecht. Allow 
yourself no imprudence. It is in that sense that my peace of mind 
is in your hands. Do not forget to write to my father from Berlin. 
He likes you and will appreciate the attention. Once more, let your 
letters be long and infrequent. Give me your views on everything 
interesting you come across. I venture to say that your essays could 
not be better addressed, nor your confidence better placed, than 
they are: in the matter of honesty, my fickle head has never 
wavered for a moment. Good-bye. I shall be your faithful friend so 
long as I have a head and a heart. 

P.S. Send a line of thanks to D'Hermenches. He complains of 
having had no sign of life from you. But don't let it slip out that 
I have told you so. 

You are very right to say that I should be worth nothing as your 
wife. We are entirely in agreement on that head. I have no sub- 
altern talents, 

P.P.S. Why did you say, the day before yesterday, that you 
regretted your role of Mentor? It did you much credit in my eyes. 
I saw at one flash your sense, your goodness, and the extent of your 
friendship for me; and it has given me a great friendship for you. 
Perhaps you feel your labours have been wasted, but they are not 
entirely lost. Even if an argument fails to touch the heart or per- 

306 From Belle de Zuylen ( 1 9 June 1 764 ) 

suade the brain, it lives at least in the memory. It may lead one, 
some day in the future, to think anew. Some day when one is hesi- 
tating in a decision, the argument may be thrown into the balance 
and tilt it to the better side. 

As I would like you to carry away a right idea of me on one 
essential point, I will hastily fill a spare moment to make you 
understand what manner of doubts I have on the subject of religion. 
Everything tells me that there is a GOD, an eternal, perfect, and all- 
powerful being. What my heart approves as being good, what all 
men in spite of themselves approve, is good certainly; and actions 
which all consciences condemn, are bad. Since there is no limit 
either to the soul's desire or faculty of perfection, so I am persuaded 
is there no limit to its existence; the horror we feel at the thought 
of falling back into the void persuades me no less. Why should 
GOD inspire us with repugnance for a destiny we cannot avoid, or 
with desires for what we are incapable of attaining? Why, too, 
should he implant in us illusory feelings? I believe our actions are 
free, because all our thoughts, all our calculations, spring from that 
hypothesis; because the most specious argument on that head can 
create in us no more than a speculative doubt or an intellectual 
conviction, without ever destroying our awareness of being free. 
Far from thinking it indifferent whether we employ that freedom 
ill or well, I believe that every good habit formed by the soul in 
this life is a further step towards happiness in the next, and every 
bad habit will delay us on that path. This penalty is no more than 
natural logic, for a vicious soul would be incapable of deriving 
happiness from what will make a virtuous one happy. The knowl- 
edge of GOD and the contemplation of Nature will only provide 
joy to such a soul after a very long interval, and it will long be 
tortured by the lack of all which made its happiness in this world. 
That this torture will be endless, I am neither able nor willing to 
believe. To me the thought would be a more cruel torture than you 
can invent. 

Revelation has qualities of grandeur, goodness, and mercy 
which are infinitely entitled to our respect; if I understood it 
better, I should perhaps recognize the marks of divinity in it 

From Belle de Zuylen ( 1 9 June 1 764 ) 307 

throughout; but I am held back by much that is obscure, and by 
what appear to me contradictions. I doubt, and I keep my doubts 
to myself; I should think it a crime to destroy the belief of others 
when I can replace it only by an anxious doubt. But I am incapable 
of forcing my mind to believe what it does not understand, or of 
compelling my heart to subscribe to a religion which I can never 
love so long as I find it denies its promised happiness to part of 
GOD'S creatures. I cannot separate my lot from that of others. I shall 
never be content to say, "It is enough that my faith procures me 
salvation; what matter that an infinite number of creatures, chil- 
dren of the same GOD as myself, will be lost by their incredulity." 
The problem as between Deism and Christianity is no doubt inter- 
esting enough to deserve our most careful study, but too much so 
for my health, my peace, or my happiness. Rather than go astray, 
I steer clear. I wait, modestly and peacefully doubting, for truth 
to come and enlighten my eyes. There you have my ideas. I hope 
they will not lose me a friend's esteem. I hope I shall seem to you, 
in all this, less blameworthy and less unhappy than you thought. 

[4. Boswell to Belle de Zuylen] 7 

Berlin, 9 July 1 764 

My DEAR ZELIDE, Be not angry with me for not writing to my 
fair friend before now. You know I am a man of form, a man who 
says to himself, "Thus will I act," and acts accordingly. In short, 
a man subjected to discipline, who has his orders for his conduct 
during the day with as much exactness as any soldier in any serv- 
ice. 8 And who gives these orders? I give them. Boswell when cool 

7 This letter (except for certain quotations from Belle, here given in transla- 
tion) was written in English. No copy has been found among Boswell's papers 
(he was no doubt intimidated by its length) , but Belle kept the original, and 
it is now preserved, with others of her papers, in the Public Library of 
Neuchatel. It is here reprinted from Professor Tinker's edition of the letters 
of Boswell, i. 45-54. 

8 Literally true, but he exaggerates the extent to which he follows his orders. 
Though he had relaxed somewhat on leaving Utrecht, he was still addressing 

3o8 To Belle de Zuylen ( 9 July 1 764 ) 

and sedate fixes rules for Boswell to live by in the common course 
of life, when perhaps Boswell might be dissipated and forget the 
distinctions between right and wrong, between propriety and im- 

I own to you that this method of living according to a plan may 
sometimes be inconvenient and may even cause me to err. When 
such a man as I am employs his great judgment to regulate small 
matters, methinks he resembles a giant washing teacups or thread- 
ing a needle, both of which operations would be much better per- 
formed by a pretty little miss. There now is a pompous affectation 
of dignity; you must expect a good deal of this from me. But you 
have indeed seen me often enough not to be surprised at it. Is it not, 
however, a great deal in favour of my candour that I own that plans 
may sometimes make one go wrong? Mr. Smith, whose Moral 
Sentiments you admire so much, wrote to me some time ago, "Your 
great fault is acting upon system/ 7 What a curious reproof to a 
young man from a grave philosopher! It is, however, a just one, 
and but too well founded with respect to me. For a proof of its 
justness I need go no farther than the letter which you are now 
reading. It was part of my system not to write to Zelide till my 
journey should be over. By my following that system, you must be 
almost four weeks without hearing a word from me. I will not 
pretend to doubt of your being sorry at this. I have even vanity 
enough to make me view you in tender attitudes of anxiety, such, 
however, as become a friend. Love is a passion which you and I 
have no thought of, at least for each other. 

I received your kind letter enclosed to Count Bentinck, from 
his friend at Brunswick. It gave me great pleasure. It was much 
more to my mind than the first was. You discover in it the same 
amiable dispositions, the same brilliant imagination, the same re- 
gard for me that you discovered in the first, with more consistency 

much the same sort of memoranda to himself. Here, for example, are his 
"orders" for 5 July 1764: "This day be alive, be manly. Fear not censure. If 
pleasure be a deception, so is pain. Enter Berlin content. Pursue Plan. Forget 
dreary ideas and sensual Turkish ones. Be Johnson," 

To Belle de Zuylen ( 9 July - 1 764 ) 309 

and more cordiality. I really must ask your pardon for being so 
free with you. It is not treating you with the politeness which I 
ought to do. But you are good enough to believe me your sincere 
friend, and you know a sincere friend is never ceremonious, but, 
on the contrary, speaks his mind without reserve. I have observed, 
too, that a sincere friend, in the warmth of his concern, will speak 
of our faults with a degree of severity which shows that he is pained 
by them. 

I remember an officer of the British Army, whom I had a regard 
for, ruined himself by extravagance. I was happy enough to save 
him from prison and get him sent home to his friends. I was not 
rich, but I had money enough to relieve him. At the very time that 
I was talking with his creditors, did he propose some fanciful party 
of pleasure. This hurt me most severely, so that I cried out with 
tears in my eyes, "Was there ever such a good-for-nothing fellow?" 
This officer, Zelide, was a pretty man, a man of genius, who wrote 
a comedy and who wrote verses. He had a fine figure; he was a 
good player of tragedy. He was generous, he was lively. Had he 
been at Utrecht, you would have liked him much. You would have 
corresponded with him after he left you. And yet, Zelide, this offi- 
cer is an unhappy being and a bad member of society, merely from 
the want of that sober quality prudence, a quality which you laugh 
at, although it is of all qualities the most essential. 9 It makes the 
most of every circumstance; if we have distinguished parts, it en- 

9 Boswell's own records are otherwise completely silent about this transaction. 
One . naturally thinks of Andrew Erskine. The only time when Boswell 
could have saved Erskine from prison and sent him home to his friends would 
have been in July, 1763, when Erskine, whose regiment had been disbanded 
in April, and who certainly had been associating with riotous company, went 
home to Scotland. But the London Journal, 1762-1763 makes no mention of 
aid asked or received by Erskine; and the matter does not seem of the sort 
that Boswell would have felt it improper to record. Furthermore, though 
Erskine wrote verses and by 1764 had written a farce, it is hard to believe 
that he was "a good player of tragedy." Lord Auchinleck's assertion (above, 
p. 26) that Boswell had been cheated of his money by a friend he did not 
know sufficiently well, may refer to this affair. 

310 To Belle de Zuylen ( 9 July 1 7 64 ) 

ables us to make a great figure. If our talents are moderate, it en- 
ables us to make a good figure, and even very weak people under 
its protection, have passed decently through life. Thou favourite of 
Nature, listen to thy friend. Let Prudence be thy counsellor. Learn 
to be mistress of thyself. Learn to live, and pray despise not Art. 
Art has taught thee to play so divinely on the harpsichord. Let her 
teach thee to modulate the powers of thy mind with equal har- 

Talk not to me of Nature's charming ease 

By which alone a woman ought to please; 

Nature shoots forth rank weeds as well as flowers, 

And oft the nettle o'er the lily towers. 

The buxom lass whom you may always see 

So mighty nat'ral and so mighty free, 

A vulgar bosom may with love inspire, 

But Art must form the woman I admire; 

An which usurps not beauteous Nature's place, 

But adds to Nature's dignity and grace. 

You see I am in high spirits, for I give you heroic verses. 1 

I heartily wish I could do you any real service. You will tell me, 
"You give me pleasure, Sir, and that is to me a very great service." 
My dear Zelide! let me prevail with you to give up your attach- 
ment to pleasure and to court the mild happiness. Believe me, GOD 
does not intend that we should have much pleasure in this world. 
But he has been kind enough to place us so that we may attain to 
a pleasing serenity, what one of our poets calls 

The soul's calm sunshine and the heartfelt joy. 2 

To be thus is, truly, to follow Nature. They who seek for exquisite 
Joy were always deceived. If they obtain it, it is but for a moment. 
Their powers are destroyed by excess, and they languish in a state 
of tedious infirmity. If they do not obtain it, they are wretched and 

1 His ten-line verses for 3 October 1763. 2 Pope, An Essay on Man, IV. 168. 

To Belle de Zuylen ( 9 July 1 764 ) 311 

fretful; they swear that there is no happiness in life, because they 
have not experienced the fancied happiness which life denies. You 
will now say that I am preaching, and perhaps you will be heartily 
tired. However, you must have a little more of it. I shall try to 
enliven my discourse. I shall just give you hints of good advice. 
It will amuse you to enlarge upon these hints. 

Religion is the noblest employment of the mind. Believe me, 
this is no prejudice. Is it not noble to adore the Supreme Lord 
of the Universe, and to aim at rendering our souls divine? I own 
to you that mankind have confounded and perplexed religion. 
One thing, however, I am absolutely sure of, and that is devotion, 
the adoration of one great and good GOD. As to systems of faith, I 
am no bigot. I think I see a very great probability that Jesus Christ 
had a divine commission to reveal to mankind a certainty of im- 
mortality and an amiable collection of precepts for their conduct 
in this life; and that by His death He atoned for the offences of the 
world, which GOD'S justice required satisfaction for. I am happy to 
believe this. It makes me live in cheerful hope. I do not believe that 
a few only shall be made happy in another world. My notions of 
GOD'S benevolence are grand and extensive. I puzzle not myself 
with texts here and texts here, with the interpretation of a gloomy 
priest or with the interpretation of a gay priest. I worship my 
Creator and I fear no evil. You see, my dear Zelide, that your 
friend is very happy as to the great article of religion. Be you the 
same. Pray make a firm resolution never to think of metaphysics. 
Speculations of that kind are absurd in a man, but in a woman are 
more absurd than I choose to express. 

You may say perhaps that you cannot prevent your mind from 
soaring into the regions of perplexity. Allow me to deny this. Sup- 
pose you should be seized with a strange inclination to touch the 
ceiling of your bedchamber while you stood upon the floor. You 
would in that case stretch your arm till it was very sore without 
coming much nearer your aim. You would tell me that you had got 
such a habit of doing this that you really could not help it, although 
you owned it to be very ridiculous. I would answer, "My dear 

312 To Belle de Zuylen (9 July 1764) 

Zelide, while your arms are unemployed, no doubt they will take 
their usual curious direction, but if you will sit quietly down and 
embroider a waistcoat for your brother, I defy your hands to mount, 
and I assure you that by degrees they will forget their bad habit 
and rest as peaceable as the charming Comtesse d'Aumale's." 3 
Just so is your mind to be managed. Study history, plain and cer- 
tain parts of knowledge, and above all endeavour to relish the 
common affairs of life. David Hume, who has thought as much as 
any man who has been tortured on the metaphysical rack, who has 
walked the wilds of speculation, wisely and calmly concludes that 
the business of ordinary life is the proper employment of man. 

Consider, my dear Zelide, your many real advantages. You are 
a daughter of one of the first families in the Seven Provinces; you 
have a number of relations of rank. You have a very handsome 
fortune, and I must tell you too that Zelide herself is handsome. 
You have a title to expect a distinguished marriage. You may sup- 
port a respected and an amiable character in life. Your genius and 
your many accomplishments may do you great honour. But take 
care. If those enchanting qualities are not governed by prudence, 
they may do you a great deal of harm. You have confessed to me 
that you are subject to hypochondria, I well believe it. You have a 
delicate constitution and a strong imagination. In order to be free 
from a distemper which renders you miserable, you must not act 
like one in despair. You must be careful of your health by living 
regularly, and careful of your mind by employing it moderately. If 
you act thus, you may expect to be happy; if you resign yourself to 
fancy, you will have now and then a little feverish joy but no per- 
manent satisfaction. I should think you should believe me. I am no 
clergyman. I am no physician. I am not even a lover. I am just a 
gentleman upon his travels who has taken an attachment to you 
and who has your happiness at heart. I may add, a gentleman 
whom you honour with your esteem. My dear Zelide! You are very 

3 There were at least four Countesses d'Aumale, none of whom receives promi- 
nent mention in BoswelTs records. Belle appears never to have mentioned the 
name in her correspondence with Constant d'Hermenches, 

To Belle de Zuylen ( 9 July 1 764 ) 313 

good, you are very candid. Pray forgive me for begging you to be 
less vain. You have fine talents of one kind, but are you not defi- 
cient in others? Do you think your reason is as distinguished as 
your imagination? Believe me, Zelide, it is not. Believe me, and 
endeavour to improve. 

After all this serious counsel, I think my conscience cannot 
reproach me for writing to you. I am sure that your worthy father 
could not be offended at it. I am sure that I intend to do you service 
if I can. 

Now, Zelide, give me leave to reprove you for your libertine 
sentiments, of which your letters to me furnish several examples. 
You say if your husband and you loved each other only a little, 
"I would certainly love some one else. My spirit is formed to have 
strong feelings, and will assuredly not escape its destiny." I hope 
this love of yours for another is not destined like that of many a 
fine lady. "If I had neither father nor mother, I would not get mar- 
ried." And yet you would have your tender connections. Ah, poor 
Zelide! Do you not see that you would reduce yourself to the most 
despicable of all situations? No, Zelide, whatever men may do, a 
woman without virtue is terrible. Excuse me for talking so freely. 
I know you mean no harm; you gave way to your fancy. You see, 
however, whither it leads you. "I should be well pleased with a 
husband who would take me as his mistress: I should say to him, 
'Do not look on faithfulness as a duty. You should have none but 
the rights and jealousies of a lover.' " Fie, my Zelide, what fancies 
are these? Is a mistress half so agreeable a name as a wife? Is a 
connection of love merely, equal to a connection strengthened by 
a variety of circumstances which have a pleasing influence on a 
sound mind? I beseech you, never indulge such ideas. Respect man- 
kind. Respect the institutions of society. If imagination presents 
gay caprice, be amused with it. But let reason reign. Conceal such 
ideas. Act with wisdom. 

I have had a most agreeable journey. My Lord Marischal was 
most entertaining company, and the Turkish lady talked ex- 
tremely well when indolence did not keep her in silence. We were 

314 To Belle de Zuylen (9 July 1 764) 

very happy at Brunswick. I have been only two days at Berlin. But 
I see that much happiness awaits me in this beautiful capital. The 
German formality and state pleases me much, for I am the true old 
Scots Baron. I found Monsieur Catt very polite. I shall write to 
Monsieur de Zuylen very soon. I esteem and love him. I had the 
honour of being presented to the Comtc d' Anhalt. You may be sure 
I considered him with some attention. He appears to be a sensible, 
polite, spirited man, with a manner very preuenant? I saw him 
only a very short time, so cannot say much. From what I have seen 
of him and from what I have heard, it would make me very happy 
to see him the husband of my fair friend. But she must be upon 
honour to behave with propriety. 

As you and I, Zelide, are perfectly easy with each other, I must 
tell you that I am vain enough to read your letters in such a manner 
as to imagine that you really was in love with me, as much as you 
can be with any man. I say was, because I am much mistaken if it is 
not over before now. Reynst had not judged so ill. You have no 
command of yourself. You can conceal nothing. You seemed un- 
easy. You had a forced merriment. The Sunday evening that I 
left you, I could perceive you touched. But I took no notice of it. 
From your conversation I saw very well that I had a place in your 
heart, that you regarded me with a warmth more than friendly. 
Your letters showed me that you was pleasing yourself with having 
at last met with the man for whom you could have a strong and a 
lasting passion. But I am too generous not to undeceive you. You 
are sensible that I am a man of strict probity. You have told me so. 
I thank you. I hope you shall always find me so. Is it not, however, 
a little hard that I have not a better opinion of you? Own, Zelide, 
that your ungoverned vivacity may be of disservice to you. It ren- 
ders you less esteemed by the man whose esteem you value. You 
tell me, "I should be worth nothing as your wife. I have no subal- 
tern talents." If by these talents you mean the domestic virtues, 
you will find them necessary for the wife of every sensible man. 
But there are many stronger reasons against your being my wife; 
4 "Prepossessing." 

To Belle de Zuylen ( 9 July 1 764 ) 315 

so strong that, as I said to you formerly, I would not be married to 
you to be a king. I know myself and I know you. And from all prob- 
ability of reasoning, I am very certain that if we were married to- 
gether, it would not be long before we should be both very miser- 
able. My wife must be a character directly opposite to my dear 
Zelide, except in affection, in honesty, and in good humour. You 
may depend upon me as a friend. It vexes me to think what a num- 
ber of friends you have. I know, Zelide, of several people that you 
correspond with. I am therefore not so vain of your corresponding 
with me. But I love you and would wish to contribute to your hap- 

You bid me write whatever I think. I ask your pardon for not 
complying with that request. I shall write nothing that I do not 
think. But you are not the person to whom I could without reserve 
write all that I think. After this, I shall write in French. Your cor- 
respondence will improve me much in that language. You write 
it charmingly. Am I not very obedient to your orders of writing 
des grandes lettres? You must do the same. While I remain at Ber- 
lin, my address is Chez Messieurs Splitgerber et Daum, Berlin. 
Adieu, Think and be happy. Pray write soon and continue to show 
me all your heart. I fear all your fancy. I fear that the heart of 
Zelide is not to be found. It has been consumed by the fire of an 
excessive imagination. 

Forgive me for talking to you with such an air of authority. I 
have assumed the person of Mentor. I must keep it up. Perhaps I 
judge too hardly of you. I think you have no cordiality, and yet 
you are much attached to your father and to your brothers. Defend 
yourself. Tell me that I am the severe Cato. Tell me that you will 
make a very good wife. Let me ask you then, Zelide, could you 
submit your inclinations to the opinion, perhaps the caprice of a 
husband? Could you do this with cheerfulness, without losing any 
of your sweet good humour, without boasting of it? Could you live 
quietly in the country six months in the year? Could you make 
yourself agreeable to plain honest neighbours? Could you talk 
like any other woman, and have your fancy as much at command 

3 1 6 To Belle de Zuylen ( g July 1 7 64 ) 

as your harpsichord? Could you pass the other six months in a city 
where there is very good society, though not the high mode? 
Could you live thus and be content, could you have a great deal 
of amusement in your own family? Could you give spirits to your 
husband when he is melancholy? I have known such wives, Zelide. 
What think you? Could you be such a one? If you can, you may be 
happy with the sort of man that I once described to you. 5 Adieu. 

Let not religion make you unhappy. Think of GOD as he really 
is, and all will appear cheerful. I hope you shall be a Christian. But 
my dear Zelide! worship the sun rather than be a Calvinist. You 
know what I mean. 

I had sealed this letter. I must break it up and write a little 
more. This is somewhat like you. I charge you, once for all, be 
strictly honest with me. If you love me, own it. I can give you the 
best advice. If you change, tell me. If you love another, tell me. I 
don't understand a word of your mystery about a certain gentle- 
man whom you think of three times a day. What do you mean by 
it? Berlin is a most delightful city. I am quite happy. I love you 
more than ever. I would do more than ever to serve you. I 
would kneel and kiss your hand if I saw you married to the man 
that could make you happy. Answer me this one question: If I had 
pretended a passion for you (which I might easily have done, for 
it is not difficult to make us believe what we are already pleased 
to imagine) answer me: would you not have gone with me to the 
world's end? Supposing even that I had been disinherited by my 
father, would you not have said, "Sir, here is my portion. It is yours. 
We may live genteelly upon it." Zelide, Zelide, excuse my vanity. 
But I tell you you do not know yourself if you say that you would 
not have done thus. You see how freely I write, and how proudly. 
Write you with all freedom, but with your enchanting humility! 
"I am proud of being your friend." That is the style. Is not this 
a long letter? You must not expect me to write regularly. Farewell, 

5 Belle supposed that the hypothetical husband of this paragraph was Tem- 
ple. (See p. 381.) It is clear, however, that though Boswell may have intended 
her to think this, he is really talking about himself. It is very characteristic of 
him to assume a firm position and then retreat from it in the same letter. 

To Belle de Zuylen ( 9 July 1 764 ) 317 

my dear Zelide. Heaven bless you and make you rationally happy. 

[5. Boswell to Belle de Zuylen] 

[Fragment: undated] 6 

PRAY BE NOT OFFENDED at my way of writing, but answer me 
calmly and perhaps I may be convinced. I am afraid you are not 
made to be happy. You have no taste for the ordinary satisfactions 
of life. You have no taste for realities. Monsieur Hahn told me once 
that he had shown you some of the most beautiful experiments in 
Natural Philosophy and you was not a bit pleased. I was wicked 
enough to say, "Perhaps, Sir, she would not be pleased with the 
great experiment of all." 7 You don't like pictures, you don't like 

[6. Boswell to Monsieur de Zuylen. Original in French] 

Berlin, 30 July 1764 

ALLOW ME, MY DEAR SIR, to recall to your memory a stranger 
who left you with sincere regret, and to assure you that that stran- 
ger will always preserve a deep sense of gratitude for all the civili- 
ties dare I say acts of friendship? which he was shown by 
Monsieur de Zuylen. 

Indeed, Sir, you had the goodness to treat me, I shall not say as 
though you were my father, but as though you were my father- 
in-law. I make use of a weaker expression instead of the common 
one because I do not like to say just what every one else has said 
a thousand times. But I beg you not to communicate this sentiment 
to my friend 8 Zelide. She would make a very different application 
of it from the one that I intended. I like to seek novelty only in 
things which depend, on taste, on imagination. But I am afraid 
that Zelide would seek novelty in serious matters, those con- 

6 In English. Mr. Scott has argued convincingly that this scrap found among 
the Boswell Papers was a rejected portion of the preceding letter. 

7 See p. 286. 

8 Boswell wrote "charming friend" and then struck out the adjective. 

3 1 8 To Monsieur de Zuylen ( 30 July 1 764 ) 

cerning which we have judgment, judgment which has given 
us fixed rules. I said, "You treated me like a father-in-law" because 
every one else has said, "You treated me like a father." But I am 
afraid that Zelide would say, "Two and three make six and pru- 
dence amounts to nothing" because every one else has said that 
two and three make five and that prudence is worth almost as 
much as all the other good qualities put together. My dear Sir, 
excuse this jocularity. I have often taken the liberty to run on with 
you in this fashion, and you have never taken it amiss. 

I had a very pleasant trip, although mingled with discomforts, 
as philosophers say of life. We encountered very sandy roads and 
very bad inns. I have been mounted on tables covered with straw 
instead of reposing in a good bed. I have had nothing for dinner 
but eggs, and I have had to eat bread that was black and sour. In 
a word, I have suffered discomforts which would have made some 
Englishmen cry out against Providence. But as for me, I do not 
have an exquisite sensibility. I was very well satisfied. I enjoyed 
the fine season. I enjoyed the pretty countryside: the mountains 
which I love delighted me after having been almost a year in the 
level plains of Holland. Forgive, Sir, a good Scot born in a roman- 
tic land and nourished by prejudices for which he will always 
preserve an agreeable veneration. 

My Lord Marischal told me an infinity of amusing anecdotes. 
Is it not to the honour of the human race to see a nobleman like 
him preserving all his facilities entire to the age of seventy-five? 
Madame Turk is extremely listless, but when she is willing to give 
herself the trouble, she can display liveliness of mind. Sometimes 
we sat under the trees in the fashion of her country, and she was 
gay and witty. 

I remained two or three days at Brunswick, where the Court 
is very gracious to strangers. I would willingly have stayed there 
several weeks, but I did not wish to quit my worthy guide. How- 
ever, I shall return there next month. At Potsdam I presented the 
letter which you had the goodness to give me for Monsieur Catt. He 
was indisposed and could not leave the house, but he very politely 
arranged for me to see everything at Potsdam and Sans Souci. 

To Monsieur de Zuylen (30 July 1 764) 319 

I am much pleased with Berlin. It is a handsome city, and the 
Germans have a frankness and a gaiety which pleases me much. 
I have the good fortune to be lodged in the house of the President 
of Police, where there is a very amiable family. His daughter is 
young and pretty and lively enough to make time pass agreeably 
for so serious a man as I am. She plays for me on the harpsichord. 
She makes me laugh with pleasant, natural sallies. She is always 
the same, and when she thinks me too pensive, she says to me, 
"Heavens! You have the spleen" with so animated an air that I 
rouse from it immediately. Up to now she has had a surprising 
influence on me. I am very curious to see how long it can last. 1 

My route is not yet entirely fixed. But I hope to be at Rome 
before Christmas. I wish to see some of the courts of Germany and to 
visit Switzerland before I pass over into Italy. I have been presented 
to all the princes and princesses here, excepting the King. You 
could not believe how eager I am to speak with that famous man; 
and I shall speak with him if it is possible. You shall hear the 

I beg you to present my respects to Madame de Zuylen, and 
my affectionate duty to Mademoiselle. Might I have the vanity 
to believe that she will not completely forget my sage counsels? 
She does not know how much I admire her. Perhaps she ought not 
to know. If my friend Captain Vincent is at Zuylen, embrace him 
for me. I recall with pleasure a long walk we made together one 
Sunday. 2 If you honour me with your correspondence, you will 
give me a very lively pleasure. I have the honour to be your most 
humble and most cordial servant, 


[7. Monsieur de Zuylen to Boswell Original in French] 

Zuylen, 1 7 August 1 764 

YOUR LETTER, MY DEAR SIR, came most opportunely to furnish 
me diversion from ideas that were troubling me. The question was 

1 Her name was Caroline Kirkheisen. In the Bodleian manuscript of BoswelTs 
poems there is a poem in French addressed to her. 2 See p. 183. 

320 From Monsieur de Zuylen ( 1 7 August 1 764 ) 
one of the marriage of a young lady for whom I ought to feel con- 
cern; and I was pondering the matter when your letter gave me, at 
least while I remained in its mood, a detachment, a diminution of 
care which was good for me. Furthermore, I see with pleasure that 
you are well pleased with the fashion in which I received and 
treated you. I felt an inclination to treat you as a friend when I saw 
your good sense, your gaiety, and your cordiality. 

I am sorry that Monsieur Catt was indisposed when you were 
at Potsdam and that you did not see him. I hope you do see him 
and are able to talk to him about us. Your trip must have been 
fairly agreeable in spite of the bad lodgings and the bad meals. 
My Lord Marischal's anecdotes, Madame Turk's conversation, and 
the fertility of your imagination, must have cast on those discom- 
forts a picturesque, even a romantic colouring which you will have 
found amusing. Et meminisse }uvabit? You will have been pre- 
sented to the King. You say nothing about Professor Castillon. I 
beg you to pay him my compliments. You will give me pleasure by 
writing again. I am curious to know also how long the influence 
(as you call it) of the young lady of Berlin will last. I hope she 
is making an agreeable diversion from the excessively serious 
thoughts you might be having. 

Madame de Zuylen sends you her compliments. My daughter 
also sends hers. She says she will not forget your counsels, but to 
follow them is another matter. 

I originally intended to send you the beginning of the transla- 
tion of a poem I once mentioned to you and you seemed curious 
about, but it would swell the packet too much. Apropos of that, the 
French of your letter is much better than I expected. You will im- 
prove a great deal more at Berlin. 

My son Vincent salutes you humbly. We continue to read 
Caesar's Commentaries together. I have to recall all my Latin to 
be of any help to him. He is now making a tour in Zeeland. I beg 
you to salute for us my Lord Marischal, the Turkish lady, Monsieur 

8 "It will be a pleasure one day to recall even these hardships" (Virgil, 
Aeneid, I. 203). 

From Monsieur de Zuylen ( 1 7 August 1 764 ) 32 1 
Catt, Monsieur Castillon. I have the honour to be cordially, Sir, 
your most humble and most obedient servant, 


[8. Boswell to Monsieur de Zuylen. Original in French] 

Potsdam, 18 September 1764 

DEAR SIR: I am very much flattered by the compliments 
which you have been good enough to pay me. If my last letter 
really sweetened a moment of your life, I congratulate myself 
for it, I glory in it. You may well believe that I sincerely wish to 
share in your perplexities. 

But, my dear Sir, allow me to speak frankly to you. Why so 
much caution? Why so many mysterious expressions? "The ques- 
tion was one of the marriage of a young lady for whom I ought to 
feel concern" why not name Mademoiselle de Zuylen and Baron 
Brombsen (if I am not mistaken) ? "I am sorry that you did not see 
Monsieur Catt. I hope you do see him and are able to talk to him 
about us," instead of saying, "I wish to have news of the Comte 
d'Anhalt." "You say nothing about Professor Castillon": that is to 
say, "Has the Professor heard nothing of the Count?" You will 
excuse me, Sir, if my commentary is mistaken, if I find in your 
letter ideas which you never thought of. I imagine, however, that 
I am right in my conjectures; and I am not quite happy that you 
have not treated me with greater frankness, for I should like to be 
reckoned a true friend and a friend in whom you can have con- 
fidence. I admit that it would look a little odd to write gravely to 
a young man and to discuss soberly with him, as with an uncle, the 
marriage of a charming young lady whom he had deeply admired. 
But you know, Sir, that I put myself on the footing of a mentor 
vis-a-vis our dear Zelide, and your great philosophers are a little 
eccentric; perhaps also by dint of preaching on the defects of then- 
pupils, they believe them greater than they are, they fear them 
more than they have reason to. You see, Sir, that I am more au fait 
than you think in all that concerns my friend. Believe me when I 

322 To Monsieur de Zuylen (18 September 1764) 
say that I wish her happiness. I hope she will be happy one day. 
But my first hope is that she will be able to change her ideas a little, 
for I dare not hope that the world will completely change its own 
in order to please her. 

I am charmed to hear of your noble conduct with regard to 
Monsieur Vincent. I see you occupied in forming the mind of a 
young warrior who perhaps will bring great honour to his family. 

I quit Berlin today to go to Geneva; but as I shall stop at a num- 
ber of courts, I do not count on being on the shores of Lake Leman 
before the end of November. 

I beg you to present my best compliments to Madame de Zuy- 
len, to Mademoiselle, and to Monsieur Vincent. I embrace you, my 
dear Sir, and I beg you to believe me always your most humble and 
most cordial servant, 


I beg you to write to me in care of Messieurs Cazenove, Claviere, 
et fils at Geneva. I hope always to be honoured with your corre- 

The young lady of Berlin continued to exert the influence I 
spoke to you about. I left her with regret. She is very amiable. But 
alas! Sir, I shall never see her again. A traveller ought to have a 
great deal of friendliness, but no susceptibility. 

[9. Boswell to Belle de Zuylen. Original in French] 

Anhalt-Dessau, i October 1764 

wrote to you from Berlin, and so far I have had no reply. What can 
be the reason? It is possible my letter did not reach you. Yet it was 
addressed according to your directions, and I cannot believe you 
have not received it. One must therefore guess at some other reason. 
It requires no long search to find it. You were displeased with 
the manner of my letter. But, my friend, you are perhaps too 
severe. You know as well as I that it is very difficult to give advice, 
particularly on so delicate a matter as that which then concerned 

To Belle de Zuylen ( i October 1 764) 323 

us. Do not attempt, my dear friend, to disguise your true feelings; 
and do not give me reason to believe that this frankness you boast 
of so much is only a weakness which you are well able to correct 
when your vanity is sufficiently piqued to teach you a little 

No, Zelide; do not tell me you have never experienced feelings 
for me more lively and tender than those of friendship. Say it as 
much as you please, I shall not believe you. You have already 
done me one honour of which you can never remove the flattering 

Had I been like several others who are perhaps more agreeable 
to you than I, I would have told you many pretty things which I 
did not believe. But I will always preserve that probity which is a 
mark of my character. I wrote to you with the completest honesty 
of intention, as to the daughter of a man I esteem, and as to a friend 
whose happiness I had sincerely at heart. If I employed expressions 
of too unsparing a character, I am sincerely sorry and ask your 
pardon. What more would you exact? 

If this letter has the good fortune to fall under the eyes of 
Mademoiselle de Zuylen, pray believe that it comes from an honest 
Scot who still feels for her what he felt at Utrecht. He begs her to 
be good enough to write, as soon as she has a moment to spare for 
him. Write, if it were only to say, "I shall never write to you again." 

GOD bless you. 


[10. Monsieur de Zuylen to Boswell. Original in French] 

Utrecht, 11 December 1764 

I ASSUME, MY DEAR SIR, from your letter of 18 September that 
you will have been able to reach Geneva when this letter arrives. 
I have no doubt that you have continued your tour with satisfac- 
tion. You will have added to your knowledge, found both resem- 
blances and differences between countries and men, explored the 
causes, exercised your appetite for speculation, and reasoned like 
a philosopher. 

324 From Monsieur de Zuylen ( 1 1 December 1 764 ) 

In my last, in an overflow of my heart, I told you of the situation 
I was in when I received yours and of the good it did me. I thought 
it would not be disagreeable to you if I did so, and I see that I was 
not deceived. You thought I did not say enough: that it would-have 
been better to name my daughter and the Baron de Brombsen with- 
out reserve, and say that I hoped you had picked up news of the 
Comte d'Anhalt from Monsieur Catt and Monsieur Castillon. But 
supposing that I had thought all that, what would have been the 
good of making it explicit? As it was, at least I gave you something 
on which to form conjectures; I furnished you with a subject of con- 
versation. It is, however, true that similar matters had been occupy- 
ing my thoughts, but not those. The case was not entirely as you 
thought it. The Baron de Brombsen was no longer a subject of de- 
liberation. I had had news touching the Comte d'Anhalt, and my 
daughter had begged him no longer to entertain the project he had 
formed, nor to think of making the trip which had been postponed 
because of various obstacles. But why tell you all that now? To 
satisfy you by showing you less reserve, to show you that your con- 
jecture was only partly true: out of love for the truth and a little 
out of love of myself. Furthermore, if I had any doubt, it would 
not be lack of confidence in your intelligence and in your prudence 
that would have prevented me from telling you more of the matter 
and asking your advice. I believe also that as a good friend you 
would have been willing to give it. 

One of our regents is dead, at the age of ninety-four. Professor 
Wesseling is dead also at an advanced age. Madame de Maarse- 
veen, my niece, was very ill during her pregnancy; she has just 
been brought to bed and is doing well. All that is quite in the ordi- 
nary course of events. What is less so is that Comte Donhof , in our 
Service, a Pole and a Roman Catholic, who had suffered for a long 
time from a dangerous debility, having kept his bed at Aix for 
three weeks, got up, ran off with an English Protestant young lady 
named Tankerville, and married her before a priest; at the end of 
two or three weeks he died, which is not to be wondered at Friends 
of the deceased came to the assistance of the disconsolate widow, 

From Monsieur de Zuylen ( 1 1 December 1 764) 325 
and wrote to his Polish relations. She went to stay with a relation 
of her own at Rotterdam. Her mother came from England and 
offered her the choice of a prison room at home or a convent; be- 
sides that, the mother took away from her the little money that she 
had and then went back home. The daughter had not made her 
choice. A Princess Czartoryski, a relation of the deceased, saw that 
she was supplied with money, wrote to her, and made her the most 
humane and generous offers. In the first days after the elopement 
and the marriage, some people were discussing its validity. "Well," 
said a lady by way of comment, "they will certainly have married 
themselves as firmly as they are able" so much so that she is said 
to be with child. Do you not find in all this a great deal that is out 
of the ordinary? 

Would you have heard in Germany or Switzerland of an able 
professor of Public Law? If you have, I beg you to let me know as 
soon as possible but he must be of our religion. 

I end by assuring you, my dear Sir, that I am, with cordial 
regard, your most humble and most obedient servant, 


Madame de Zuylen sends you her regards. My daughter is at 
The Hague, at her sister's. 4 

[i i. Boswell to Monsieur de Zuylen. Original in French] 

Geneva, 25 December 1764 

You WILL NOT BE ABLE to believe, my dear and respectable Sir, 
how much your last letter rejoiced my heart. You do not know me, 
Sir. You know only some of the more attractive traits of a singular 
character, of a character so composite that you would need a 
great deal of time and many opportunities to study it. You would 
never think I had a gloomy mind, and you would be far from 
suspecting that I am diffident. Yet it is certain that both those 
things are true. Is it possible otherwise to explain the uneasiness 
that I have experienced with regard to you? You delayed a little 
4 Madame de Perponcher, Belle's junior by six years. 

326 To Monsieur de Zuylen (25 December 1 764) 
in writing to me, and I could not help fearing that you had taken 
offence at the frankness of my letter on the subject of that marriage 
to which you have devoted so much thought and I so many con- 

I imagined I know not how many disagreeable things. My 
imagination was rendered gloomy by dismal chimeras. Sir! that 
kind of imagination can give me bitter days. That kind of imagina- 
tion can make me a jealous husband. Your letter has calmed me so 
far as concerns the fear I had on your account. But one can never 
completely calm a melancholy soul torn by suspicions. 

And you have confidence in me. Be assured that you make no 
mistake in having it. No, Sir, if ever probity has existed on earth, 
it exists in the heart of Boswell. You have not yet said enough to 
me about this mysterious marriage. Really you have not. I beg you 
tell me more. Tell me everything. Must I ask you questions? "Is it 
so-and-so?" "Is it so-and-so?" No. Although I am not in the least 
timid, I should blush to tell you what I am thinking in spite of 
myself. My dear Sir! hide nothing. Whatever you reveal, your 
honour will be safe. 

I do not cease to please myself with the recollection of Made- 
moiselle de Zuylen. She has for some time had at least a sincere 
friendship for me. I find her more and more charming. I begin to 
retreat from some of my prejudices towards her. Some time ago I 
gave her character to my most intimate friend, on whose judgment 
I count more than on my own. He replied, "0 adorable Zelide! &c., 
&c. 5 Your objections are nothing. She will remain metaphysician 
and mathematician only until she is married." My friend, Sir, is an 
Englishman, a man of good sense, sensitive and generous. Advance 
then, haughty counts! Advance, bold barons! Throw yourself at 
the feet of an angel worthy of all your vows! After all I have said, 
I swear to you that I cannot decide how I stand with regard to 
Zelide. But you are a man of honour. I entrust you with a letter 

5 The "&c., &c." stand for other expressions of Temple's which Boswell does 
not bother to transcribe into his copy. Unfortunately Temple's letter which 
contained them is not among those that have been recovered. 

To Monsieur de Zuylen ( 25 December 1 764 ) 327 
for her. I repeat, you are a man of honour. If you think your 
daughter should not receive a letter from me, burn it, but do not 
open it. 

I have made the tour of Germany that I planned. I have spent a 
month in Switzerland. I have been to see the illustrious Rousseau. 
I have been much at his house. Will you believe it? He has granted 
me his friendship. My record of that occasion is extraordinary: 
romantic and noble. I promise that you shall see it. I have been 
very well received at the home of Monsieur de Voltaire. I am going 
back there tomorrow, and Madame Denis has been good enough 
to say that I shall spend the night in his chateau. I am the most 
fortunate of men. I have already had letters from the worthy reign- 
ing Margrave of Baden-Durlach, and from Rousseau. On Monday 
I leave for Turin. You can well believe that my soul is filled with 
enthusiasm when I think of making the tour of Italy. My dear and 
respectable Sir, may GOD bless you. 


P.S. The learned world has lost a very great man by the death 
of Monsieur Wesseling. I have heard of no Professor of Public Law 
in Switzerland or in Germany. 

The story of Miss Tankerville is extraordinary. It was a truly 
English caprice to marry a foreigner at the point of death. I am 
enough of a stoic to regard her misfortunes as the natural conse- 
quence of her bad behaviour. If a daughter is so lacking in respect 
for her parents and in confidence in them as to engage in the most 
important of contracts without consulting them, ought she to be 
surprised if her parents lose a little of their affection for her? I am 
sorry when such a marriage succeeds. It gives encouragement to 
girls of impressionable hearts and light heads to forget the weak- 
ness of their sex, to scorn the sage maxims of prudence, and to dis- 
turb the settled order of Society. The parents of Miss Tankerville 
are more to be pitied than she is. The heroine has her imagination 
heated by an adventure. But her parents are obliged to consider her 
sad folly cool-headedly. I hope people will have pity on her up to 
a certain point. But she ought to suffer. 

328 To Monsieur de Zuylen ( 25 December 1 764) 

I beg you, Sir, to pay my respects to your wife, to General Tuyll 
and his lady, to the worthy Grand Bailiff of Amersfoort, and to his 
brother (I think) in die breed Straat* Your assemblies no doubt are 
following their ordinary course. I kiss the hands of the Misses 

Do not forget the translation of the Dutch poem you promised 
me. You will give it to me when I have the honour to see you again. 

[12. Boswell to Belle de Zuylen. Original in French] 

Geneva, 25 December 1764 

MADEMOISELLE: I send you but a few words; for I know not if 
you want more of me. Some time ago you displayed towards me the 
appearances, at least, of sincere friendship. Allow me to recall to 
you a few expressions which you will recognize. 

"I have a higher regard for you than for any one, &c." 7 
Mademoiselle, I think a man could not but be flattered by such 
words as these from a charming woman. 

And what have I done since those days? I wrote you a long letter 
from Berlin. I gave you such advice as I imagined would assist you 
to be happy. You made me no reply. I feared I had spoken of your 
conduct in terms which were too wounding. I wrote to you from 
Dessau to tender you my excuses. Once more you did not write. 

Mademoiselle, I am proud, and I shall be proud always. You 
ought to be flattered by my attachment. I know not if I ought to 
have been equally flattered by yours. A man who has a mind and 
a heart like mine is rare. A woman with many talents is not so rare. 
Perhaps I blame you unreasonably. Perhaps you are able to give 
me an explanation of your conduct towards me. Zelide! I believed 
you to be without the weaknesses of your sex. I had almost come 
to count upon your heart. I had almost 

6 Monsieur de Natewisch and Monsieur d'Amerongen. 

7 "It is evident from Letter No. 13 that Boswell at this point inserted a whole 
catalogue of Zelide's flattering expressions. In the manuscript copy which he 
retained these are represented by '&c.* " GEOFFRET SCOTT. 

To Belle de Zuylen (25 December 1 764) 329 

My friend, have I been mistaken? Tell me the simple truth 

without reserve. I am capable of admiring the candour of a woman 

who makes acknowledgment of her inconstancy; if she owns it to 

me without lightness, if she owns it with regret. 

I have entrusted this letter to your father. I am confident he is 

a man of honour. I wish to be sure of your receiving it. If this is an 

indiscretion, you are the cause of it. 

I ask a reply. You owe me that, at least. Zelide, good-bye. I have 

the honour to remain your faithful friend and very humble servant, 


[13. Belle de Zuylen to Boswell. Original in French] 

Utrecht, 27 January 1 765 

your letter; he gave it me; I received it with joy and read it with 
gratitude. I am completely alone and perfectly free for an hour: 
let us make the most of it. 

I will tell you the truth, and you will not think the worse of me. 
I would begin by assuring you that all those expressions of friend- 
ship and all those promises of eternal regard and of constantly 
tender recollection which you have collected, are acknowledged 
and renewed by my heart at this moment. 

Now, Sir, let us review my conduct and consider my silence 
which you make a ground of reproach. I had spent one extraordi- 
nary day this summer, a day that might have counted as an event 
in my life, when, on coming to my room in the evening I found 
your long letter. 8 1 read it with eagerness, and found in it qualities 
which filled me with delight, noble flights prompted by a generous 
nature and warmed by the liveliest friendship. Since then I have 

8 She wrote to D'Hermenches in the night of 21-22 July: "Am I not the un- 
luckiest of beings? I was terribly in need of sleep, and I thought I should sleep 
soundly; I complained of being sleepy and hurried through supper, but I 
found in my room an English letter from Boswell seventeen pages long. I 
read it; I went to bed. The seventeen thousand thoughts of my friend Boswell 
. . . revolved in my head with such violence that I have not been able to stay 
in bed more than a quarter of an hour." 

330 From Belle de Zuylen ( 2 7 January 1 765 ) 

re-read the earlier pages; I made D'Hermenches read and admire 

them; 9 1 intend to read them again. 

After all this fineness came your reproaches, and I found pas- 
sages copied from my letters, passages which had been suggested 
by my libertine imagination and written to you (as I thought I 
might safely do) in thoughtless confidence. These were sent back 
to me and severely refuted, so that each was made the excuse of 
some wounding admonishment which you heaped upon me with- 
out choosing your words, and needlessly. For what need was there 
to copy out my sentences and put me to the blush, if your object 
was to give me useful advice and to correct my mistaken views, if 
you thought them mistaken? 

But that is not all. You went on repeating, ringing all the 
changes possible on the words, that I was in love with you, or that 
I had been in love with you, that my feelings were those of love. 
You would have me admit this, you were determined to hear me 
say it and say it again. I find this a very strange whim in a man 
who does not love me and thinks it incumbent on him (from 
motives of delicacy) to tell me so in the most express and vigorous 
terms. I was going to answer your letter the following day; I 
remember even I made a beginning, in English; but at that point 
I was interrupted by receiving the strangest possible proposal of 
marriage, 1 and since that moment I have had nothing but worries, 
fears, anxieties, hopes, problems that needed thinking out; I have 
had no more tranquillity; I have never again had the leisure and 
peace of mind I needed to answer your letter properly. 

9 He wrote on 24 July: "The English letter charms me. I find in it things that 
take hold of me and make me overlook its pedantry. Now, one would like to 
see how he reduces all those respectable principles to everyday practice. 
That's the reef on which your moralizers commonly split. If they do not take 
refuge in cynicism, they condemn only those things that are not in the line of 
their own ruling passion" (Translated). 

1 From Bellegarde, in a letter written by D'Hermenches. The "strangeness" 
of the proposal seems to have been due to certain extremely blunt questions 
which D'Hermenches put on the part of his friend: What was the size of her 
dowry? What likelihood was there of her remaining faithful? 

From Belle de Zuylen ( 2 7 January 1 765 ) 331 

I was blaming myself, none the less, for my silence, when, to- 
wards the middle of October I got your second letter. Once more 
I found myself commanded by you to confess that I had felt a pas- 
sionate desire for you. I was shocked and saddened to find, in a 
friend whom I had conceived of as a young and sensible man, the 
puerile vanity of a fatuous fool, coupled with the arrogant rigidity 
of an old Cato. I would none the less have answered you, for I 
wished to lay it down as a condition of our correspondence that 
you should burn all my previous letters. With my habitual frank- 
ness I wished to tell you that it showed a poor knowledge of the 
human heart to attribute a momentary instinct, that springs from 
no perceivable source, and passes, leaving no discernible trace, to 
any clear, recognized or established sentiment in our nature. The 
heart is less consistent; and the senses, too, count for something. 
Whatever a prude may object, Nature intended them to have a 
say in the matter. With an old friend, they say nothing; it is pure 
friendship. If the friend be young, they may at some moment utter 
a word. But that word is not love. The moment passes and friend- 
ship is once more peaceful, generous, and reasonable as before. 
There is no question of love's anxieties, its suspicions, its jealousies 
or its transports. 

My dear Boswell, I will not answer for it that never at any 
moment may my talk, my tone, or my look have kindled with you. 
If it happened, forget it. I have written letters to you with the 
vivacity and freedom of a headlong imagination, which, with a 
trustworthy friend, shakes off the yoke of constraint that is laid 
upon our sex; burn them. But never lose the memory of so many 
talks when each in our own fashion was reasonable, and both were 
sincere; when the pair of us were equally light-hearted: I, well- 
content in the flattery of your attachment, and you as happy to 
count me your friend as if there were something rare about a 
woman with many talents. Keep that memory, I say, and be sure 
that my tenderness, my esteem, I would even say my respect, are 
yours, always. 

But in talking like this I have lost track of some sentence I left 

332 From Belle de Zuylen ( 2 7 January 1 765 ) 
incomplete. Ah, yes, I was telling you that I intended an answer; I 
would have sent it, I would have sent you a few lines at least, in 
spite of new worries and complications, had you given me your 
address at Geneva. But you never gave it. 

If I saw my own situation more clearly, if I saw any certain 
future for myself, I would tell you of it; but possibilities would be 
too long and are too little interesting to explain. Burn my old letters 
if you wish to deserve new ones. Keep nothing in your desk but 
what is creditable to me. I am not inconstant. I dissimulate nothing, 
I have not ceased to be your friend, and I shall be your friend 


[14. Monsieur de Zuylen to Boswell. Original in French] 

Utrecht, 8 February 1 765 

I WAS SORRY TO LEARN, MY DEAR SIR, from your letter of the 25th 
of last month 2 that you had been uneasy about the effect which 
your former letter might have produced; and I am sorry that my 
delay in replying to you prolonged your uneasiness for some time. 
But the joy which my reply caused you has almost consoled me. 
I cannot evaluate precisely the two opposed sentiments which you 
have felt, so as to regulate my own accordingly. But it is certain 
that I should like to inspire in you only agreeable ones, the more 
so if the part of your portrait which you give me is not exaggerated. 
I mean, if you are easily disturbed, it is all the more proper to 
treat you tactfully and spare you subjects that are disturbing. But 
you know how to divert yourself, and you have at present the finest 
of opportunities: travel in general, and travel in Italy particularly, 
ought not only to dissipate present melancholy but also to efface 
the tendency towards that state that you might have for the future. 
So your mind is at peace so far as I personally am concerned, but 
you urge me to confide to you what I coxdd not tell you in my last. 

1 do have confidence in you, and I should like to be able to give you 
this proof of it, but the secret in question is not my own. 

2 Actually of 25 December 1764. 

From Monsieur de Zuylen (8 February 1765) 333 

Of course I did not read the letter which you sent to me for my 
daughter; you had sent it to me in confidence that I would not But 
I doubted whether I should burn it or give it to her. The confidence 
I have in you made me decide to deliver it to her. Just now I asked 
her if she had anything to say to you. Concerning your friend's 
prediction that her appetite for metaphysics would pass off, she 
begged me to reply that so far as it was excessive, she hoped it 
would, but as for all exercise of it, no. I love her enough to hope 
that she will establish herself in this country or in a neighbouring 
one, and that I can see her often. . . ? Adieu . . . my dear Sir. I have 
paid your compliments to the persons you named, and they have 
been gratefully received* . . . May the LORD guide you. 


[15. Boswell to Belle de Zuylen. Original in French] 

[Probably Rome, 3 April 1765]* 
P.S. Forgive me for having written in English. 
Allow me to add one word more. Our letters are truly mysteri- 
ous, as you said at the outset of our correspondence. Know then, my 
dear friend, that I am prepared to make you a recital which will 
surprise you; and though I shall speak without choosing my 

3 Monsieur de Zuylen was so courtly and also so fond of Boswell that it is 
hard to decide how he really felt about the prospect of having him for a son- 
in-law. But this sentence is, I think, completely sincere. To Belle's father the 
disqualification of living in Scotland was about as great as that of being a 
Roman Catholic. I have omitted, following this sentence, a long and sen- 
sible criticism of the religious tendency of Rousseau's writings. It is worth 
publishing, but not in this series. 

4 The Register of Letters shows that Boswell received No. 13 on 15 March 
1765 and replied to it on 3 April; we know also from Belle's letter of 25 May 
1765 (No. 17) that the reply was a long one and that it was probably in 
English. Boswell seems to have kept no copy. The Boswell Papers do, however, 
contain the present fragment, which looks like a discarded postscript of the 
missing letter. After hinting at a proposal of marriage, Boswell no doubt 
decided that caution was the wiser course. 

334 To Belle de Z u yl en ( 3 April 1 765 ) 

words, 5 this time you will not blame me. Next time I have the 
honour to be in your company, my friend will have to admit that 
I understand the human heart very well. Believe me, Zelide, it is 
you who have not sufficiently entered into the singular character 
of'your amiable and proud Scot. You have advanced many steps on 
the path. That was fine; and I know but one man who could have 
withstood you. If for that u one man" you had gone some steps 
further, if you had trusted him fully and spoken everything 
out . . . 

[16. Boswell to Monsieur de Zuylen. Original in French] 

Rome, 23 April 1765 

THERE ARE HOURS, MY DEAR SIR, when a man feels that he is 
worth ten times as much as in the ordinary course of his existence: 
hours when he finds himself in perfect health, finds his mind gay 
and at peace with itself, finds his soul strong and virtuous; hours 
when he is not perplexed by the question why GOD has created him, 
because he sees the system of the universe as the work of an All- 
powerful and All-good Father. As I write, I have the good fortune 
to enjoy one of these delicious hours. I wish to share it with 
Monsieur de Zuylen. 

How beautiful your conduct toward me is, Sir. I am touched by 
it to the bottom of my heart. You have delivered to your daughter 
the letter which I took the liberty to put in your charge. What a 
proof of the confidence you have in a stranger! I flatter myself 
exceedingly because you did so, but I respect you for it still more. 
May it be a bond between us for the rest of our lives 1 1 am perfectly 
satisfied with what you tell me concerning my friend. I hope that 
the days of secrets, of conjectures, and of discreet dealings are over, 
and that she is established in a fashion that will satisfy all of us. 
I shall always take a most sincere interest in her happiness. 

I know you, my respectable friend, too well to fear that you 

5 A quotation from Belle's letter of 27 January 1765. See p. 330. 

6 The writing ends here at the bottom of a full page, but as the reverse is 
blank, it may be doubted whether Boswell ever completed his sentence. 

To Monsieur de Zuylen ( 23 April 1 765 ) 335 

have been offended because I have delayed so long in answering 
the last letter you honoured me with. If you had made me wait in 
that fashion, how uneasy I should have been! But I know the dif- 
ference there is between us, and I am persuaded that you will 
excuse me when you remember that I am both busied with and dis- 
sipated by the antiquities, the arts, and the pleasures of Italy. I 
must tell you besides that I have been putting off writing because of 
something that will amuse you. For some time now I have had 
almost no occasion to speak French; and I assure you that in jab- 
bering Italian I have lost part of the tongue I learned at Utrecht. 
On my honour, I began a letter to you two weeks ago and could not 
continue it. This evening I am taking advantage of a fine moment, 
and I think I shall be able to express myself passably well. It is 
humiliating to find that one forgets so quickly. What is the mem- 
ory? There is a question to which the most profound, the most 
subtle, metaphysicians can give no answer. I know not if there is 
any question more curious. 

My tour of Italy comes up to the exquisite ideas which I had 
formed of it. It is true that I had sometimes imagined that I should 
find more agreeable people there than I have found. That apart, all 
my hopes are realized. The fine climate, the variety of objects, the 
exercise which I take every day, have so completely dissipated my 
melancholy that I hardly know myself. I am quite another man. 
My perceptions are clear, my judgments firm. Every day I increase 
in knowledge. Every day I improve in taste. My mind is so full of 
gay ideas that it has no room for gloomy ones. I am completely con- 
tent with this world. I have elevated hopes for the future. I adore 
my GOD with gratitude and with joy. Oh, why cannot I remain in 
these sentiments? I do not know. But the recollection of this happi- 
ness will sustain me in the shades, the doubts, and the sadnesses 
into which a baleful malady casts my troubled mind. I know that I 
can be made happy. My idea of the Divine Nature makes me be- 
lieve that in the end I shall be happy always. 

I have read with attention and pleasure your remarks on the 
works of Monsieur Rousseau. You criticize them as a sound poli- 
tician, as a man of fixed faith, but with the candour and delicacy of 

336 To Monsieur de Zuylen ( 23 April 1 765 ) 

a true philosopher. I had not seen his Lettres de la montagne when 
I was with him, and he did not speak of them. We did, however, 
discuss religion, and especially the Christian religion, at great 
length. He repeated to me what was practically the doctrine of the 
Savoyard Vicar. I asked him boldly if he was truly a Christian. He 
replied with a piercing and noble glance, "Yes. I pique myself on 
being one. All the objections make no difference to me. But do not 
trouble me with your proofs of the Gospel. I have it here. It speaks 
in my heart. It must be divine." Such is the enthusiasm of a soul like 
his, and I believe that he is very happy in it. He appeared to me full 
of goodness and devotion. Perhaps he would have done better to 
keep the "Profession of Faith" for a few particular friends. But he 
has formerly suffered himself from black ideas of his Creator, and 
he has set himself to alleviate the sufferings of others, without con- 
sidering that there are very, very few people who think enough 
about religion to be tormented by it, and a great many people who 
are delighted to have excuses for not performing their religious 

And finally, my dear Sir, the most enlightened people do not 
see everything. As for me, who am not one of those vigorous spirits 
capable of acquiring wide and profound knowledge, I do not dis- 
turb myself in useless efforts to raise myself higher than Nature 
intended me to rise. It seems to me that I act philosophically when I 
fit myself to the rank where I am placed. My imagination presents 
me with a thousand lots in life above mine. I try to admire 
them all without envying them, and I keep myself as much from 
the greed of fame as from the greed of money. 

I could wish that my intellectual friend Z&ide had a little of 
this philosophy. She would be happier for it, and (if I may say so in 
simple frankness of heart) she would be still more amiable. I 
should like to fulfil the real duties of my station, and yet make 
myself little by little better, in the hope that my capacity will be 
enlarged in the other world. Doomed to suffer, I cultivate especially 
the virtue of patience; and although I am changeable in matters of 
religion, I never lose an entire confidence in the Being of Beings. 

To Monsieur de Zuylen ( 23 April 1 765 ) 337 

My dear Sir, continue to hold me in esteem. I put great store in 
your friendship, and when all is said, I am not unworthy of it. 
When I was saying good-bye to Monsieur Rousseau, he em- 
braced me cordially and said to me, "Always remember that there 
are points at which our souls are bound together." Such a sentiment 
from such a philosopher is enough to nourish my pride for ever. 
Believe me, Sir, that those who are proud in the way that I am are 
the men on whom one can count; and if one takes a little pains to 
treat them with the respect which they deserve, they are the most 
amiable portion of any society. It is with calm and satisfying pleas- 
ure that I recall the hours I had the honour to spend in your home. 
I shall be highly charmed to see you again. The prospect of doing 
so delights me. But I am already saddened at the thought of saying 
an eternal farewell to you. That is too painful for me. I do not wish 
to believe it. 

I hope you have received good accounts of your son who is at 
Paris. Perhaps I shall find him there. In that case, our acquaintance 
shall proceed with no detours of ceremony. I believe the young 
baron will not be sorry to see some one who was received as a friend 
at Zuylen. I shall be curious to observe how much he resembles 
you, and how much he prides himself on being destined to preserve 
the memory of the bold Van Tuylls whose portraits I saw in your 
castle. Without doubt you have inspired him with an affectionate 
respect for his family. My worthy father has brought me up much 
in these sentiments, and I shall be obliged to him for it for the rest 
of my life. The honour of an ancient family is a noble principle; 
and I know nothing which has contributed more towards giving a 
true grandeur to humanity. It is well known how much the 
Romans owed their success to it. Their imagines majorum 7 incited 
them to glory as much as did their most sublime orators. Let us 
pay no attention to the ridiculous abuse which weak men have 
poured on this principle. 

The honour of my family is perhaps a species of self-love. I do 

7 Ancestral images, portrait-masks of the ancestors of a family. The tag is 
from Cicero. 

338 To Monsieur de Zuylen (23 April 1 765 ) 

not care to perplex myself with pedantic distinctions which spring 
from restless minds. I know only that to be attached to my family 
has in it something less selfish, 8 something more generous, than to 
pride myself on my wealth, my talents; I venture to say, even my 
virtues. Develop this sentiment, Sir, and you will see that it is 
romantic but that it is not false, Self-love rules in this age; and 
the philosophers and beaux esprits would like to destroy principles 
fortified by the general suffrage of civilized peoples and conse- 
crated by the most remote antiquity. One of them wishes to degrade 
the nobility because he knows mathematics; another because he has 
had his head turned with metaphysics; another because he has the 
gift of saying amusing things from morning to night; and a fourth 
because of pride and singularity. Can one conceive any prejudice 
more foolish than that of these luminaries of the world? Monsieur 
d'Alembert has written a discourse to prove how difficult com- 
merce between the Great and the Learned is. If Monsieur d'Alem- 
bert had a little more common sense, he would see that rank and 
power of mind are things so different that they ought never to be 
put in comparison, and that a duke and an encyclopediste can very 
well pass the day together, each keeping his place, each showing for 
the other the respect due to him. 

I tire you, my dear Sir. But my intention was to try to amuse 
you. I send my respect to all your family, and I remain always, 
with sincere cordiality, yours, &c. 9 

[17. Belle de Zuylen to Boswell. Original in French] 

Utrecht, 25 May 1765 

I HAVE JUST HAD an agitation and am still upset. My father 
entered suddenly; I had begun a letter to you in English. Your long 

8 The manuscript reads "less unselfish" (moins dtsintfresse) . Boswell got 
confused between his "more" and his "less.'* 

9 Our manuscript, as explained above, is a draft or copy. The "&c." here stands 
for the formal conclusion and signature of the letter actually sent. 

From Belle de Zuylen (25 May 1 765 ) 339 

letter was laid out over my table, your writing can be recognized 
a mile off; I spread my elbows as far as they would reach to cover 
our correspondence. I do not think he saw any of it. I was mad, of 
course, .to have put off writing to you till Saturday, the day on 
which my father, having nothing to do at his government office, 
runs to and fro like a man with nothing to do. That means there is 
no safety and no peace in my room. I put your letter and my own 
English writing into my pocket in fear of some new mishap. This 
can be passed off, if I wish it, as a letter to some cousin or other. I 
will reply to you today a little unmethodically: moreover I have 
not enough time, and another day will be better. 

I could put off writing but I do not wish to, for I want you to 
find a letter from me at Genoa; it will please you and I am too fond 
of you to make you wait in future longer than is necessary for a 
thing which you require of me. I have indeed much feeling for you, 
and now that you exempt me from saying or believing that I am in 
love with you, all will go well between us. As you say very rightly, 
our best times lie ahead. You were good enough to promise me that 
you will read me my letters, those letters of mine in which you find 
so many things to blame, and which should cause me to blush; that 
is the treat you propose to me when you visit here on your return. I 
am indeed most grateful to you. Your letters I will keep and return 
to you, since that pleases you; 1 but mine can go on the fire and be 
turned to ashes and smoke without causing me the smallest regret. 

I shall play no game of long apologies. It is a matter of taste. 
You are delighted that I blame you for being too systematic; you 
are very well content to have, at twenty-five, the faults of a man of 
fifty. For my part, I am not clever enough to understand your 
felicity in this. Fault for fault, I like those of my own age, those 
which are natural to me, as well as any others. At the same time I 
must beg you to believe that in speaking of those "pleasures" which 
I wished to enjoy successively, I meant nothing you need have 

1 Boswell did not get back to Utrecht to claim the letters in person, but it is 
somewhat remarkable that he did not secure them later through Mr. Brown, 

340 From Belle de Zuylen ( 25 May 1 76*5 ) 

understood in a vulgar sense, nothing which might not enter "a 
virgin mind." 2 You never tire of repeating my own phrases to me; 

1 have no recollection of this one: "after one happiness, another"; 3 
but once again I cannot possibly have meant anything by that 
which need have scandalized you: and if in this instance one of our 
two imaginations is in any way to blame, it is not mine. 

I forgive you readily for having fallen short of your principles, 
especially as you have admitted it with regret. But profit by this 
and be more indulgent, and do not make so great a difference in 
your estimate between the man who is always reasoning and sin- 
ning against his reason, and the man who reasons less and sins just 
the same. Both have their passions and their weaknesses, but one 
of them is always aware of the fact and does not make a display of 
a futile code of wisdom. The other forgets it; imagines himself to be 
strong; makes rules when he has no motive for violating them; and 
takes advantage of the intervals between his passions to preach 
against them with self-satisfaction. 

My sister has just been delivered of a son, my mother is at The 
Hague, and I am looking after the household. Today I am giving 
an elegant dinner to Monsieur Bicker, who received his doctor's 
degree yesterday with much applause. He is a young man of whom 
much may be hoped, both for literature and the State. 

Bentinck is very well; he has been in England. I do not know 
why he has ceased writing to you, but I know it is not a great mis- 
fortune for you. Leave that vast mass to occupy itself with all the 
nothings in the world. You act as I used to: my vanity used to put 
up with anything and require praise from everybody. It caused me 
to extend my correspondence without rhyme or reason. Why write 
to Madame Spaen? What is she but an immense collection of pre- 
tensions, of which her talk is the catalogue? Your letters to my 
father, on the contrary, are the most tactful in the world. He is, as 
you say, very reserved; what a pity that I have not a little more of 
the quality he has to excess! 

2 The quoted words are in English in the original. 

3 But she wrote it all the same: see p. 299. 

From Belle de Zuylen ( 25 May 1 765 ) 341 

Shall I tell you everything? But do not repeat a word nothing 
is yet certain. I shall perhaps marry early next winter the Marquis 
de Bellegarde, colonel in our Service, with fine estates in Savoy and 
a house at Chambery; a Roman Catholic whose children must be 
Catholics, a man of forty, a man with brains, kind and good- 
natured. I have seen little of him but I shall see more. I shall see 
whether my parents' objections are such as to force me to abandon 
a^ scheme in which I expect to find my happiness; then I shall make 
up my mind. Do not accuse me and do not condemn me. My heart 
has no self-reproach: I love my parents and I am not forgetful of 
religion. If one day you want further explanations and justifica- 
tions you shall have them. Good-bye, my dear Boswell. I am your 
friend for always. 4 

[18. Monsieur de Zuylen to Boswell. Original in French] 

[Utrecht, c. i January 1766] 

No, MY VERY DEAR SIR, I am not at all angry with you and never 
have been. I replied to your letter from Rome at the address you 
had given me at Genoa, a little later, but only a few days later, than 
the time which you had indicated to me. But that could not have 
prevented your receiving my letter, for you have been there since. 
I hasten now to write to you at Paris, not merely because you asked 
me to, but also in order that you may perhaps still see my eldest son 
there. You can get his address from Messrs. Thellusson and Necker, 

My daughter has received proposals of marriage from a gentle- 

4 At least three, and possibly more than three, letters are missing from the 
series at this point: (i) To Belle, in reply to No, 17, sent 13 September 1765 
(Register of Letters); (2) From Monsieur de Zuylen, in answer to No. 16, 
sent to Genoa but never received (mentioned in No. 18; see also p. 343); (3) 
To Monsieur de Zuylen, probably from Genoa, early December, 1765 (not 
entered in Register of Letters but implied in No. 18). Besides these, there 
may have been another letter from Belle to Boswell which was lost in the 
post, like her father's, and a letter from Boswell to her complaining of her 

342 From Monsieur de Zuylen (i January 1766) 

man of distinguished family of Savoy, a colonel in the service of 
the States General. She would not be averse to it, but as he is a 
Roman Catholic, we have some repugnance to the match. However, 
before stating our position positively, we have asked for firm as- 
surances that such a marriage would be valid in Savoy, and we are 
waiting for the reply. I am thus explicit with you because of the 
interest which you take in the matter, and because I count on your 
discretion and your friendship. 

Your father's dangerous illness is a circumstance which must 
distress you and fill you with concern. 5 1 sympathize sincerely with 
you. I had the same experience, being in France at the time, and I 
returned to Utrecht to see my father and care for him, with my 
brother. It was a great consolation to him, as he testified to us a 
hundred times in the most tender manner. But you know what 
your duty is better than I do. However, I am by no means without 
personal regret, for this will lessen the chances of your return by 
way of Holland, and I shall always be very happy to see you, quite 
apart from any other motive than that of conversing with you. 

Adieu, my very dear Sir. Try to recall the happy balance of 
your spirits in Italy; and count on the sincerity of my sentiments of 
esteem, of consideration, and of friendship for you. 


My son is just on the point of setting out for home. You will be 
lucky if you find him still there by looking him up at once. 

[19. Boswell to Monsieur de Zuylen. Original in French] 6 

Paris, 16 January 1766 

YOTJR AFFECTIONATE LETTER, dear and respectable Sir, which I 
have just received here, relieves and rejoices my heart. Thousands 

5 On arriving at Genoa, 29 November 1765, after his tour of Corsica, Boswell 
found an accumulation of letters from his father telling him that he had 
been at death's door with a suppression of urine and requesting him to come 
home at once. Lord Auchinleck suffered from this complaint (probably an 
enlarged prostate) for the rest of his life. 

6 The manuscript in the Boswell Papers is not a copy but the original docu- 
ment, which was returned at Boswell's request. See pp. 351, 359. 

To Monsieur de Zuylen (16 January 1 766 ) 343 
of times do I curse the posts of Italy for having caused me so great 
uneasiness. I have lost by their means many letters from my 
friends; and my imagination, ever ready to lend its black colours, 
has led me to form many disagreeable suspicions. I had the good 
fortune to find your son at Paris. You shall see what course I took: 

To Monsieur de Tuyll 

Will you, Sir, be pleased to allow a man you have never seen to 
address you on the footing of an old friend, or of a relation? I have 
enjoyed so much kindness from the family of Zuylen, and am so 
much the friend of your worthy and respectable father, that I look 
on you already with sincere affection. Today I am indisposed, and 
confined to the house J If you could visit me here, you will oblige 
me infinitely. If you have an engagement elsewhere, I will call on 
you tomorrow to pay you my respects. Most sincerely yours, 


What is your opinion, Sir, of this note? I have given it you, I 
believe, in its actual terms, for I have the best memory in the world 
for minutiae. Monsieur de Tuyll called on me that evening. We 
formed an immediate attachment. He is a man formed for me. He 
has principles. He has even prejudices. You are to be congratulated. 
We conversed, with the confidence of true friends, on Mademoi- 
selle de Zuylen. We said every unfavourable thing that could pos- 
sibly be said of her, and concluded always by contemplating her 
with admiration and affection. I spoke to Monsieur de Tuyll with 
a perfect candour, and it is after listening to his sentiments and 
benefiting by his advice that I am about to write to you, without 
reserve, on a most delicate subject. 

During my stay at Utrecht, I studied the character of your 
daughter with close attention; for I must admit to you that I could 
not help thinking of her as in every respect a noble match for your 
humble servant, providing always that the faults in her character 
were not such as to be incompatible with married happiness. I 

T 13 January 1766. He was laid up with a painful case of ingrowing toenails 
which he had acquired by tramping the trails of Corsica in riding boots. 

344 To Monsieur de Zuylen ( 1 6 January 1 766 ) 
swear to you that I was never in love with Mademoiselle. That is to 
say, I never felt for her that madness of passion which is unaccount- 
able to reason. I formed a true friendship with her. I saw so clearly 
the mistaken and dare I say it? licentious ideas of her imagina- 
tion that, to tell the truth, I believed she would make her husband 

Before my departure with Lord Marischal I had sufficiently 
strong proofs that she would look on me with preference over all 
others on whom she was then thinking to bestow her hand, and 

over Monsieur de B among the rest. In a word, I am as sure 

as one can be of such a thing when there has been no exchange of 
yes and no, that I had the honour, at that time at least, to be the 
possessor of the affections of Zelide. Like a man of the most perfect 
and most scrupulous probity, I assured Mademoiselle that I was 
not in love with her, that I was simply her true friend, and that I 
should be charmed to see her married to some worthy man with 
whom she could be happy. She praised my honesty, but rallied me 
not a little, assuring me that I had no need to make use of it in her 

Well and good, my dear Sir; my sensitive conscience was the 
guide of my conduct; and, believe me, I was not wrong. I confess to 
you that I always had a leaning towards a marriage with my 
friend. But, in the first place, her faults filled me with alarm. In the 
second, I was still darkened by clouds of the blackest melancholy, 
and dared make no promises for myself. I saw Mademoiselle was of 
an age to marry; I was assured that several satisfactory alliances 
were open to her. I therefore resolved (and I assure you it was at a 
cost to myself) I resolved, I say, to do nothing that might hinder 
the success of others in a matter as to which I was wholly unde- 
cided. And I swear to you that in so acting I had the pride of an 
heroic soul. None the less my inclination was unaffected, and in 
truth I suffered not a little from my heroism. I calmed myself by 
the consciousness of having done what appeared to me an honest 
man's duty in such circumstances. I thought that I ought not to 
place too much reliance upon a preference felt by a mind so light 

To Monsieur de Zuylen (16 January 1766) 345 

as my friend's. I resolved to allow her the time of my absence on my 
travels to conclude if this preference of hers was durable; and, 
should she remain in the same frame of ideas, I believed this would 
render me the happiest man in the world. 

During my travels, I never ceased to think very seriously of her, 
in spite of changes, of life in prodigious variety, and (let me admit) 
in spite of acts of licence. I said nothing; but it was always a satis- 
faction to me to learn that the projects of marriage which were on 
foot for her were still unrealized. When I learnt of the latest of 
these (and for some time I have had no very reliable news on the 
subject) , I was at first put out; but, after a little reflection, I was 
very happy that my friend was at last to be well established. But, 
after talking with Monsieur de Tuyll, my views underwent some 
change. For he assured me that, in his opinion, Mademoiselle 
would enter into marriage with Monsieur de B with con- 
siderable indifference, and only because she has decided that the 

time is come for her to marry, and that Monsieur de B is a 

suitable match. Your phrase, "She would not be averse to it," 8 does 
not indicate a strong attachment; and, as I find there are many 
objections to such a choice, I cannot yet lose sight of my brilliant 

I told Monsieur de Tuyll all that I have here written you, and 
in his opinion it would be a pity to conceal it. Said I, "Perhaps your 
sister has not continued to feel that preference for me, because of 
the express terms in which I assured her that such a preference 
would" be misplaced; perhaps she would still prefer me to all the 
men of her acquaintance; perhaps she would be overjoyed to know 
my sentiments in regard to her." He thinks it likely enough. May 
I venture to say that he seems very much my friend in this matter. 

My dear and respectable Sir, here is my proposal. My confi- 
dence in your wisdom and honour is such that I give you full au- 
thority to decide for me. You can easily discover whether Made- 
moiselle de Zuylen would still give me her preference. If that is so 
no longer, say nothing to her on the topic of which I have written 
8 Above, p. 342. 

346 To Monsieur de Zuylen ( 1 6 January 1 766 ) 
you, for only her preference could engage me firmly in her f avour, 
and without it I would banish the idea. Secondly, should there be 
any kind of promise or any engagement, however slight, with 

Monsieur de B , let it be cleared up before you mention my 

name. And if there be any means of fulfilling that engagement, let 
the blood of De Tuyll be ever fired for the sentiment of honour. 
Thirdly, if you, my dear and respectable Sir, should not accord me 
your own preference in the proposal I am minded to make, I 
renounce it. 

Do not accuse me of being a cold and indifferent lover. I am not 
the lover of Mademoiselle de Zuylen. Had I that fever in my soul, 
I would not be thinking of a calm, conjugal engagement. No. I am 
the heir of an ancient family, and think myself under obligation to 
prolong it, to lead an ordered and hospitable life like my ancestors 
before me. I see a person who would suit me more than any I have 
found, or even can well hope to find. That person is my friend. 

I beseech you, Sir, to advise me. I consider I am too young to 
marry; but a wife such as Zelide might prove is well worth some 
years of freedom. Were she to feel a true affection for me, she has 
force enough to adapt herself in every respect. 

I should marry her, no doubt, by the forms of the Church. But 
that would not be enough for me. I should require a clear and ex- 
press agreement. I should require an oath, taken in your presence, 
Sir, and before two of her brothers, that she would always remain 
faithful, that she would never design to see, or have any exchange 
of letters with, any one of whom her husband and her brothers 
disapproved; and that without their approbation she would neither 
publish nor cause to be acted any of her literary compositions; and 
in conclusion she must promise never to speak against the estab- 
lished religion or customs of the country she might find herself in. 

If she would promise all that for my sake, I would marry her 
tomorrow, and thank heaven for it, supposing my father were to 
give his consent; for I have given him my word of honour not to 
many without it; and, indeed, it is my belief that the eldest son of 
a noble family should never do otherwise. I have no doubts about 

To Monsieur de Zuylen ( 1 6 January 1 766 ) 347 
obtaining my father's consent. He has written to me, u Tempus est 
spargere nuces," and when he learns of my friend's family and 
fortune, he will certainly say, "Sparge, marite." 9 The great ques- 
tion is that of Mademoiselle's attachment to me. If I could be sure 
of that, I have no doubt I can arrange all else. I am quite in the 
dark; but I can allow myself the agreeable fancy of her learning 
with delightful astonishment that it is in her power to have her 
friend for a husband on certain conditions. And I picture with the 
most heartfelt satisfaction an alliance between the family of De 
Tuyll and that of Auchinleck. 

And you, my dear and respectable Sir, perhaps will see it in the 
same light. You will embrace me as your son, and my children 
would call you grandfather, and Madame de Zuylen would possess 
an authority over me, and would be well pleased With her dear 
daughter, and my friends would become my brothers-in-law, and 
all of you would come and visit us in Scotland, and every two or 
three years we would come to Utrecht. There you have true ideas 
of durable happiness: the sweet simplicity of a family affection. 

Although I did not have good health in Holland, although I 
have spoken and written in strong terms against your country, 
nevertheless at the bottom of my heart I always love it. I know not 
by what association of ideas the rich pastures where your cows 
graze appear to me like the fields of the pious patriarchs. The 
amiable Belle would be my Rebecca. But she has not enough feel- 
ing for nature. To speak the truth, she has not enough feeling for 
anything solid or real. She would rather read fictions than facts. 
She is more concerned with words than with the things they repre- 
sent. To speak clearly, her heart is more precious to me than her 
mind, and it is rather what I hope she will become than what she 
actually is that I desire to marry. 

As for me, I am the eldest son of an excellent family, which is 
not one of the wealthiest but nevertheless well-off, having a rental 

9 "It is time to scatter nuts. . . . Scatter, bridegroom'" (Alluding to the 
Roman custom of scattering nuts at a wedding; tags from Catullus and 

348 To Monsieur de Zuylen ( 1 6 January 1 766 ) 
of 1000 sterling a year. My father is one of the Scots judges, and 
his profession brings him in as much again; he will consequently 
be in a position to make me a very respectable settlement if I decide 
to marry. I have studied the law, and my plan is to practise as an 
advocate at our Scottish bar; and after a certain number of years 
I hope to obtain a position similar to my father's. It is not impossi- 
ble that I may become a Member of Parliament. But in these days 
of political corruption, my mind is not set on it. I need not, I am 
sure, tell you that the profession of advocate in Scotland is in no 
sense degrading, as, by an absurd fashion, it has come to be looked 
upon in some other European countries. In Holland, I believe, it 
is held in the same esteem as with us. I know, at any rate, that the 
advocates attached to the court at Brabant are drawn from the 
noblest families. Monsieur Perponcher is a gentleman of most 
ancient stock. If I may allow myself a passing pleasantry, would it 
not be excessive on your part to marry both your two daughters to 

There is excellent society at Edinburgh. That is to say, there 
are persons of good sense and instruction. We make no boast of 
brilliancy, ton, &c. But as far as that goes, my friend has no undue 
leanings to that species of extravagance. We would spend half the 
year in the country, where we should find sufficient diversion. I 
fancy a very happy life could be spent in that manner; for I am 
supposing that my wife and I will experience ever-increasing 
pleasure in each other's society, and I am persuaded that once we 
were well accustomed to each other, Zelide and I would be very, 
very happy. I am singular and romantic, and such a character is 
made to give her infinite pleasure. But I will enter into an agree- 
ment with her to maintain a decent composure, a certain reserve 
even, before the world. In private, vive la bagatelle, let us give full 
rein to our fantasy, as the most illustrious of the ancients have 
done. Sir, I am proud, very proud, and it is perhaps to my pride 
that I owe my best virtues. What a pride is this which makes me 
refuse to petition for a young lady's hand until I have the cer- 
tainty that she prefers me to all the world! But in this case the 

To Monsieur de Zuylen ( 1 6 January 1766) 349 
motives of prudence and, on my honour, of disinterested friend- 
ship, are associated in great measure with that of pride. 

I have visited the island of Corsica with a letter of recommenda- 
tion from Monsieur Rousseau. There I saw realized for the first 
time what I had read of with admiration. I saw a whole people 
animated with the spirit of liberty and patriotic fire. I saw Romans 
and Spartans. I saw the illustrious Paoli, a man brave, wise, en- 
lightened, owning the hearts of all his countrymen: a Numa, 
a Lycurgus. It will give me infinite pleasure to render you a full 
account of my Corsican tour and to tell you how, in crossing to 
Genoa, I was compelled by rough weather to put in for seven days 
at the little island of Capraja, where I led the most curious existence 
in a convent of poor Franciscan monks. 

Sir, since being in Corsica, since making such proof of my tal- 
ents and address, I am more proud than ever. I have a right to look 
to a distinguished career; I am worthy to make one of the best 
matches in England. Do not therefore find fault that I take so high 
a tone in speaking of Zelide. Would it not be a pity if so fortunate 
an alliance were unrealized for lack of speaking of it? And, in 
speaking, I could use no other terms. 

I still flatter myself with hopes of soon seeing you again. My 
father's health is better and he has granted me permission to re- 
main a month in Paris. I wrote to him this morning begging him to 
allow me, on my way back to England, to cross from Holland; 
pointing out that by this means, I should see Flanders, and give 
my tour great completeness. 1 It is two years since I wrote to him 
from Utrecht of my ideas in regard to Mademoiselle de Zuylen, 
as to which he has never given me any answer. Today I indicate 
to him my intention of seeing this young lady once more and of 
coming to a decision in the matter. I have told him that my im- 
patience to see this affair concluded may perhaps cause me to 
travel to Holland before receiving his reply. But I should do better 

1 Lord Auchinleck's letter has not been recovered. As has been mentioned 
above, not one of the many letters which Boswell wrote to his father is known 
to exist. 

350 To Monsieur de Zuylen ( 1 6 January 1 766 ) 
to await it. I have the liveliest desire to be with you. I am worth 
ten times what I was when I left you. Mademoiselle will be the 
judge of that. 

But it must not be forgotten that I am a hypochondriac, as she 
is, and that it might be a grave error to unite two victims of that 
malady. Mademoiselle is, I think, in fair health, and, as for me, 
give me a horse and Epictetus and I fear nothing. Nevertheless, 
I must in all seriousness admit to you that these attacks of melan- 
choly are sometimes so strong that it is well nigh impossible to sup- 
port them, and at such times I am truly out of temper. To conclude, 
I have many faults; on my word, I mean what I say. My knowl- 
edge is very restricted. I have an excess of self-esteem. I can- 
not apply myself to study. I can nevertheless maintain my energy 
where my attention is interested. I have no sufficient zest for life. 
I have the greatest imaginable difficulty in overcoming avarice. 
I am not alieni cupidus sui profusus, 2 for I do not covet riches; I 
have only the low weakness of wishing to make little savings. I 
should require a prudent wife, a good housekeeper who would 
attend to everything and leave me in peace. Judge, my worthy 
friend, if Zelide is capable of ever becoming such an one? Judge, 

1 beg you, if she would not be happier with Monsieur de B , 

who makes no such fastidious scrutiny, than with me who already 
have formed so severe a judgment of her. 

I have at least this one consolation, that if my marriage with 
her were to prove unhappy, it could not be worse than I fear. It 
is equally true that matrimony is incapable of supplying greater 
felicity than I hope for from our union, which I sometimes con- 
template with transports. I picture Zelide pious, prudent, kind, and 
tender, while retaining all her charms. I picture her giving com- 
plete satisfaction to all her relations, and triumphing over those 
mean and envious minds who have concluded that she can never 
possibly become a good woman. Ah! Sir, if only all this could come 
to pass! 

2 "Covetous of the riches of others, lavish of his own" (Sallust, Catilina, V. 
4; cupidus for appetens). 

To Monsieur de Zuylen ( 1 6 January 1 766 ) 35 1 

Listen. You know Mademoiselle, you know me, and all the 
circumstances of the case. As a man of honour, I ask you to decide 
for us. I have set forth all my thoughts before you in a manner 
which I am confident will obtain your praise. Whatever happens, 
our friendship will be maintained, and I trust you will look on this 
letter as a sure token of my respect for yourself and of my attach- 
ment to your family. I beg for the earliest possible reply. If jacta 
est alea* and I may no longer indulge the thought of our marriage, 
I beg you to return me this letter. If you are of opinion that the 
alliance might be brought about, keep the letter, and, when I 
pay my visit, you will give it me or allow me to take a copy of it; 
for I shall always be curious to recall how I expressed myself in an 
affair of this consequence. 

You will forgive the tedious length of this epistle. I think I have 
said everything; and I hope you will be enabled to understand 
accurately my singular sentiments. I tender my best respects to 
Madame de Zuylen; and I embrace my dearest friend with all my 
heart. If I could be but two days with her, we should reach a satis- 
factory decision. All I ask of you, Sir, is to answer me frankly. I 
deserve it. And I swear to you I shall take offence at nothing you 
may say. Will you confess to me if, during my absence, you have 
entertained thoughts of such an alliance? When you say that "you 
will be very happy to see me, quite apart from any other motive 
than that of conversing with me," this "other motive" strikes me 
as being precisely the question now at issue; and this, too, is the 
conclusion drawn by my worthy brother-in-law, Monsieur de 

Ah, Sir, cherish him; treat him like a man! He has genuine 
good sense of which one never tires. He believes his sister will make 
an excellent wife. He believes I would make a good husband for 
her. But he would make no decision for me. "I am acquainted," 
said he, "with your way of thinking, but not with your character." 
Wisely said! Sir, you have in your hands an important trust. I 
lean confidently upon your goodness. 
3 "The die is cast." 

352 To Monsieur de Zuylen (16 January 1 766 ) 

I ever am, dear and respectable Sir, with the most perfect 
consideration and sincere cordiality, most truly yours, 


Postscript 1 7 January. Morning 

I ought perhaps to ask your pardon for the boldness of my letter; 
but I thought I was doing right in painting you a precise picture 
of my character, both good and bad. If you give me encouragement 
to risk my happiness with my friend, I will step forward with feel- 
ings of glory. If the event disprove your wisdom, there will be 
nothing to be said. We shall have acted for the best. Be an impartial 
judge. Do not bind a worthy Scot in the chains of a melancholy 
regret. If you cannot pronounce for the probability of our happi- 
ness, do not cast us together. You understand my views. The 
thought of marriage affects me with fear. Nothing could make 
me think of it but the unusual merits of my friend, coupled with 
my heartfelt attachment to your family. My tranquillity, I should 
tell you, is somewhat disturbed at this moment. I am sensible of 
more agitation than a philosopher ought to experience, and all 
this has come about as a result of my conversation with your son. 
I await your answer with impatience. Once for all, I implore you 

to take this letter in good part. 


[20. Monsieur de Zuylen to Boswell. Original in French] 

Utrecht, 30 January 1 766 

MY DEAR SIR, I have received your letter of the 16-1 7th of 
this month: it affected me exactly as you wished it to. 

4 On 27 January 1766, at Paris, Boswell received a letter from Lord Auchin- 
leck telling him that his mother had died on the i ith, and begging him not to 
postpone his return. On receiving this letter, Boswell wrote at once to Mon- 
sieur de Zuylen informing him of Lady Auchinleck's death and telling him 
that he would not now be able to come to Holland. This letter has not been 
recovered. It crossed one from Monsieur de Zuylen, replying to No. 19. 
Boswell left Paris on 30 January, remained briefly in London, and was in 
Scotland about the first of March. 

From Monsieur de Zuylen (30 January 1766) 353 

In the first place, I am very much pleased that you hunted up 
my son at Paris, treated him with the confidence of a friend, and 
made yourself known to him in your true character. Nothing is 
more useful for a young man in an age and in a country where re- 
laxation of morals reigns than the example of a man of birth and 
intellectual distinction who remains attached to his good principles 
of religion and virtue; who dares declare his position with firmness, 
and conducts himself accordingly. And you did make a strong im- 
pression on him. I know it from his own lips: he arrived yesterday. 

I have admired the thoroughness, the ingenuity, and the energy 
with which you paint for me your character, your situation, and 
your project of marriage. You give me at the same time a very 
strong proof of your confidence, of which I am very sensible; and 
that fact itself ought to make me so much the more circumspect. 
It would be necessary to compare your situation and your character 
with my daughter's and decide if it is probable that you would both 
be happy together. A difficult decision. But we have not yet 
reached the point at which it can be faced. Monsieur de B.'s case 
is not settled. The investigations which I mentioned to you into 
the possibility of a marriage with him have revealed this much: 
that he absolutely must have a dispensation; that he is not sure he 
can get one; but that if he consents to what we demanded in our 
last letter, he will proceed to try to get one. You see then that though 
there certainly is no engagement, she does have a disposition to 
say yes if the marriage is feasible. So I could not make your pro- 
posal for that reason alone; and it was only in the case that the 
other match could not take place and you still persisted in your 
scheme that there would be any question of my assuming the dig- 
nity of impartial arbiter which you had conferred on me and 
which I consider an honour. 

I rejoice to hear that your father is better, both for your own 
sake and because of the respect for him which you have inspired me 
with. Besides, this makes me hope to see you again. If you remain 
where you are some time yet, and if you have anything to com- 
municate to me of what you see, it will give me pleasure. The auto- 

354 From Monsieur de Zuylen (30 January 1766) 
biography in your letter, as in the preceding ones, has pleased me 
a good deal. I shall preserve the letter because it richly deserves it, 
and also so that you can re-read it here. 

Farewell, my very dear Sir. Count always on the true esteem 
and the sincere friendship of your servant, 


[21. Lord Auchinleck to Boswell] 5 

Edinburgh, 30 January 1766 

UPON THE 1 1 OF THIS MONTH I wrote you the account of the 
death of your excellent mother, who was no bel esprit, no wit, no 
genius, but one who endeavoured to make her husband, children, 
friends, and all round her happy; who lived the life of a true practi- 
cal Christian, exerting herself with diligence in doing her duty 
without intermission to GOD and her fellow creatures, and whose 
end was peace. Her exit, which she made with the greatest satisfac- 
tion, as my former particularly mentioned, has left me in a most 
desolate state; and as I therein desired you might come home speed- 
ily, as I needed all the aid and comfort an affectionate son can give, 
I have been counting with impatience when I may expect to see you 
here and flatter myself that it will be in a few days. For although I 
had a letter from Dr. Pringle acquainting me of some proposals you 
had bid him mention to me from Lyons, and a letter from yourself 
from Paris containing another very strange proposal, I have reason, 
I think, to hope that the melancholy news I wrote you would im- 
mediately put an end to that fermentation, and make you think 
seriously what you owe to duty, to gratitude, and to interest. 

If that be so, all is well. But if contrary to expectation you shall 
be unmoved, and go on in pursuit of a scheme which you in your 
unstayed state are absolutely unfit for at present, and a scheme, 

5 Endorsed by Boswell, "This letter arrived at Paris after I had left it, and lay 
at Foley's [Boswell's banker's] until July, 1766, when I got it over to 

From Lord Auchinleck (30 January 1766) 355 
which, abstracting from that, is improper and would be ruinous 
a foreigner, a bel esprit and one who even in your own opinion has 
not solidity enough for this country what can you expect from 
me? All that I need say further is that as I gave you a full allowance 
to answer your expenses in every place you were in and you have 
got all that advanced and considerably more; and as I ordered you 
one hundred pounds at Paris, which was to defray your expense 
the few days you stayed there and bring you over to London; if 
you shall employ that money for other purposes, it is what I can- 
not prevent, but I acquaint you that I am to answer no more of 
your bills, either for one purpose or another. I hope there will be 
no occasion for this last caveat, as I hope you will show yourself a 
dutiful and affectionate son, as I have been, and wish to continue, 
your affectionate father, 


[22. Willem de Tuyll to Boswell. Original in French] 

Utrecht, 11 November 1766 

I TAKE TOO MUCH PLEASURE, SIR, in receiving a mark of friend- 
ship and remembrance from a friend not to reply promptly. I re- 
ceived your letter this instant and have hardly finished reading it. 
I congratulate you with all my heart on the state of mind which 
you now enjoy. It delights me to re-read your remark, "I think I 
shall be able to pass through this life tolerably well." The hope is a 
sure guarantee of it. 

You speak of your long silence. It is very easy to make peace 
with me on that score: one letter puts all to rights. Letters are one of 
the pleasures of friendship, but they are not its essential feature. 
After a long silence say only, "I have often thought of my friend," 

6 1 here omit letters of condolence from Monsieur de Zuylen and his eldest 
son, Willem: they are both very friendly but say about what one would ex- 
pect. I have ventured, however, to include nearly the whole of a letter from 
Willem de Tuyll written nearly a year later. He was then about twenty-three. 

356 From Willem de Tuyll ( 1 1 November 1 766 ) 
and I shall hold you released from the debt of all that you could 
have said to me in the interval. But I fear that this rule does not 
augur well for the future. Remember then, Sir, I beg you, that it is 
to be invoked only with reference to the past. 

You mention what I told you at Paris concerning my father. 
You guessed the truth as accurately as any mortal could. We are, I 
believe, as well with each other as it is possible to be. I profit as 
much as I can from his knowledge. I did not know him well until 
after my return. I wish I could have retained all his instructive 
conversations in my memory; they are very instructive indeed. 

My sister is nearer you than you imagine: she is in London. 
She went there almost a month ago. My brother accompanied 
her there and left her, having business here. He has been promoted 
and is now commanding a vessel. 7 He is thinking of marrying, and 
has asked the hand of Mademoiselle de Reede, sister to Lord 
Athlone. She has not refused him, but she absolutely insists that he 
quit the Service, having invincible prejudices against it. That puts 
my brother in a serious quandary. My father would be displeased if 
he left the Service. He is very much torn this way and that. I do 
not know yet how it will come out. 

But before going further, I ought to warn you, Sir, that today 
is the 4th of December. I was obliged to break off our conversation 
of the i ith of November, and I have been unable to resume it until 
today. I have spent a great deal of time hunting. 8 Now that the 
hunting season is over, I am entirely at the service of my friends, 
and I have no regrets for the forests. How far we are from each 
other! I marvel how our ideas brave the elements, leap over seas 

7 "Commandeur de Vaisseau." I do not know what this is technically; hardly, 
I should suppose, "Captain." Diederik van Tuyll was at this time about 

8 "Willem ... is always hunting, provided he is not ill from having hunted 
too much" (Belle de Zuylen to Constant d'Hermenches, 2 November 1769). 
Godet reproduces a handsome full-length portrait of Willem in hunting cos- 
tume, holding a gun, a heap of dead game at his feet (Madame de Charriere 
eises amis, 1.65). 

From Willem de Tuyll (4 December 1 766) 357 
and mountains, and arrive in each other's presence without having 
lost anything in so strange a journey 9 

I am better than I was in Paris, much better. I had to confess 
my illness to my father. You saw the beginning of it in Paris. I have 
been obliged to undergo heroic treatment. I was very ill. I was 
always hoping to cure myself without going that length, but I 
grew worse daily. I thought of you when my mother and my sister 
were near my bed, pitying me and little suspecting the cause of 
my sufferings. I was much impressed by the way in which my 
father conducted himself in that affair: not a word of reproach, 
not a moment of ill humour, always giving the best advice and 
managing my confidential concerns- without entering into them 
except indirectly. For a long time I was uneasy about my condition. 
I took the cure at Aix-la-Chapelle, but I did not meet good doctors. 
I consulted far and wide: Monsieur Tissot of Switzerland and 
another Dr. Tissot here. For a long time I thought I was not going 
to be cured, but finally I was. And I am better in mind and in body. 

What more can I say that will interest you? I am sitting at the 
moment with my father and mother; the one is writing and the 
other is working. I have carried on long conversations with my 
father. I spend a great deal of time in the company of both of them. 
I read Hume's History in French to my mother. I should be happy 
if I did not have an imagination that runs about the fields without 
asking my permission. But every one must seek his own amuse- 

I have not given up hope of seeing you one day in your own 
country. It is one of the countries where it pleases me to let my 
ideas wander. But I am not yet there for all that: I am farther 
from Scotland at Utrecht than I was in Paris or in Switzerland. 

Adieu, Sir; continue to be happy, and let me hear sometimes of 
your happiness; it will, contribute to mine. Your old friends at 
Utrecht are well. The Dom is still the most venerable, the most 
9 A paragraph dealing with the quarrel between Rousseau and Hume is 

358 From Willem de Tuyll (4 December 1 766) 

melancholy, and the most vaunting of all possible buildings; I 
forgot to say the most Gothic, which would have been to say every- 
thing in one word. Mr. Brown and his household are also very well. 
I say very well in general, but I am wrong. Mr. Brown is often 
badly indisposed and his health is precarious. He is indeed a most 
estimable man. Monsieur de Guiffardiere is asking to be third 
minister with Messieurs Rambonnet and Huet. 1 Do you know 
those wearisome and mournful personages? Their church is no 
longer anything but a church-yard, I mean a cemetery. 2 

[23. The Reverend Robert Brown to Boswell] 

Utrecht, 27 January 1767 

DEAR SIR: Yours of the 5th of January I received last post, 
and from it understand you have not had my last dated about three 
months ago. 'Twas wrong in me not to have sent it by the post, at 
least not to have wrote you by that conveyance soon after; for my 
letter was rather a volume than a missive, and concluded with a 
long shred of an old sermon. I sent it, with several others, in a box 
to a friend, who I suppose was gone for America before the box 
arrived; for by what I find, not one of my letters have been for- 

I'm extremely sorry for this, because it has put you in pain 
with respect to your books, papers, &c., which are all very safe and 
entire at this present moment, being still in my hands. The death 
of my worthy friend Mr. James Craufurd at Rotterdam having for 
some time (viz., till his son was settled) deprived me of the oppor- 
tunities I formerly had, and now again have, of getting things 
sent to Scotland by shipmasters to be absolutely depended on, I 
thought 'twas better to delay sending your papers for some time 
after I was favoured with yours. Last autumn I fell into a lingering 
distemper which held me for some months and disabled me from 
thinking of anything but my daily and necessary occupations, 

1 In what Boswell calls "the French Meeting." 

8 "Church-yard" is in English. There is no signature, but the sheet is full, 

From the Reverend Robert Brown ( 2 7 January 1767) 359 
which are at present very numerous. On my recovery I wrote you 
the letter above alluded to, in which I informed you that I would 
keep the papers till the spring, unless some sure hand should cast 
up sooner for carrying them over. Such an opportunity now 
actually offers. A son of Mr. Kinloch of Gilmerton 3 who has lived 
with me these two winters past is recalled to join his regiment; sets 
out tomorrow, and takes your papers in his cloakbag, together 
with a letter from you to Mr. de Zuylen, which he delivered me 
some time ago, to transmit to you. 4 As I could never expect to find 
a fitter occasion than this, unless I had delayed till July when I 
might have been the bearer myself, I embraced it with pleasure; 
and I hope all will arrive safe and to your satisfaction. 5 

As for the books, as soon as ever our canals are again open, I 
shall send them to Rotterdam to be forwarded by the first ship for 
Leith. Johnson's Dictionary will not, probably, be of the number; 
for Miss de Zuylen having some time ago applied to me for it, I 
made no scruple to let her have it, as knowing the proprietor would 
willingly homologate the deed. If that fair lady is returned before 
the books are sent off, it shall be sent likewise; if not, when she 

3 Lieutenant Archibald Kinloch, Mrs. Brown's first cousin. He later suc- 
ceeded to the Kinloch baronetcy. 

* No. 19. Boswell, it will be remembered, had asked to have this letter back: 
immediately if Monsieur de Zuylen considered his suit unwise or hopeless, 
ultimately in any case. 

5 Lieutenant Kinloch did not carry the papers beyond London, and I have 
found no certain evidence that he even brought them from Holland himself. 
The parcel was sent down from London to a Mr. Gall, banker in Edinburgh, 
in the private chaise of a Mr. Tod, merchant in London, by a Mr. Henderson, 
who asked that great care be taken of it because it had been particularly 
recommended to him by a friend in Holland. BoswelPs brother David got it 
from Mr, Gall and forwarded it to Auchinleck. When Boswell opened it, he 
found the entire Dutch journal missing. He wrote letters to Brown and to 
Lieutenant Kinloch' s father and asked David to institute inquiries, but the 
journal was never recovered. The present state of the evidence indicates that 
it was lost somewhere between Utrecht and London, but Boswell seems not to 
have been able to free himself completely of a suspicion that through Brown's 
carelessness it had been mislaid or destroyed before the parcel was made up. 

360 From the Reverend Robert Brown (27 January \ 767) 
does return. There is no getting at present all the Latin Gazettes 
of Cologne for the year 1763; but the editor has promised to send 
me by the first occasion what of them he has already been able 
to pick up, and to continue to do his best to get the remainder. 
Those of 1766 I shall have by the first opportunity, and shall send 
you with the books. 

The old fencing master was sensibly touched with your re- 
membrance of him, but died suddenly soon after I communicated 
the contents of your letter relative to him, so that I had no occasion 
of making him the present you mentioned; and indeed he stood 
in no need of it. 

And where then, you'll ask me, is Miss de Zuylen gone to? Had 
you received my letter, you would have known that she has been in 
London these three months past. She is much pleased with the 
British capital, and as you will easily believe, much admired there. 
She's lodged at Lieutenant-General Eliott's. 6 Won't you think of 
making a trip to see her on your own side the water? Not a 
word more of the Marquis de Bellegarde. Mr. de Zuylen and his 
lady are perfectly well, and seem to remember you with particular 
regard. Mr. de Tuyll, the eldest son, is as you know returned long 
ago. The second, who is lately advanced in the Navy, is here also 
at present. Both very pretty ytiung gentlemen. The third is at his 

My family is indeed much more numerous than when you left 
us, but they are not of my begetting. I have had a house full of 
Dutch and English boarders, who have given me enough to do, 

6 Later Lord Heathfield, defender of Gibraltar, subject of one of Sir Joshua 
Reynolds's finest portraits. He and his lady had met Belle at Utrecht and had 
been so much taken with her that they had invited her to pay them an 
extended visit in London. General Eliott had received part of his education 
at Leyden. -Boswell wrote to Temple on 4 March: "Zlide has been in London 
this winter. I never hear from her. She is a strange creature. Sir John Pringle 
attended her as a physician. He wrote to my father, 'She has too much vivac- 
ity. She talks of your son without either resentment or attachment.' Her 
brothers and I correspond. But I am well rid of her" (Letters of James Boswell, 
ed.C.B. Tinker, 1.104). 

From the Reverend Robert Brown ( 2 7 January 1767) 361 
though all very good lads. Their number is at present diminished, 
which I am not sorry for, as we had rather too many. As for off- 
spring, the child at whose birth you was present, has, thank GOD! 
been hitherto preserved with us; and she is still all our stock. Mrs. 
Brown and her sister desire their best compliments, always re- 
membering Mr. Boswell in a very cordial manner, as do all your 
acquaintances here; hoping to have the pleasure of seeing you here 
again some time or other. Mrs. Geelvinck, the handsome rich 
widow of Amsterdam and the great companion of Miss de Zuylen, 
is to be married next month to the Marquis de Chatelaine, a noble- 
man of Lorraine, Chamberlain to Prince Charles, a widower with 
three children, and as you can well conceive, Roman Catholic. 
This marriage has astonished all the world. 7 

I had almost forgot to tell you that your obligation to Mr. Peter- 
son, duly discharged, is in my hands, and shall be sent by Mr. 

My paper is at an end, and I don't choose to make you pay 
double postage; therefore conclude with subscribing myself, with 
sincere regard, dear Sir, your most affectionate, obliged, humble 


P.S. I hope to have the pleasure of paying you my respects in 
Scotland in July next. Mr. Wishart, who is still with me, sets out 

7 La Veuve was in fact married by April of this year to Frangois Gabriel 
Joseph, Marquis du Chasteler et de Courcelles. Belle had a low opinion of him: 
"I should very much like to go to Paris. If Madame Geelvinck had not married 
a ridiculous and despotic fool, we could have gone there together . . . They 
tell a thousand ridiculous stories of this husband and this marriage. It is 
said that he took no pains to conceal his interest [in her fortune]; stupidity 
rather than frankness causes him to publish his thousand failings in absurd 
behaviour and absurd speech. I am very sorry that my friend did not profit 
by the warnings which he gave her himself from morning to night. If he 
had given me the tenth part of them, I would have broken with him, even in 
the church, in the midst of the marriage service" (Lettres a Constant d'Her- 
menches, 1909, p. 310). La Veuve was married for the third time in 1790, to 
Count von Schlitz, and died in 1792. 

362 From the Reverend Robert Brown (27 January 1767) 
from here in June to return by the way of Paris; and if nothing 
falls out to prevent it, I propose to accompany him. 8 

[24. Brown to Boswell] 

Utrecht, 22 October 1767 

DEAR SIR: Honest Frangois, as you term him, arrived safe, 
and with him your letter, for which receive my thanks. 9 I had a 
very agreeable journey home, not without some adventures really 
amusing; and to crown all found my dear concerns here in perfect 
health. I can hardly say that this is my own case at present. My 
stomatical complaints are indeed much abated; but the weakness 
I have had ever since last winter in my left side, and particularly 
in the thigh and leg, seems to increase daily. Patience, patience is 
my only resource. I am already reduced to walk, not only with, 
but upon a stick, as we say in our part of the world, and shall be 
very happy if I can keep at this pass; being afraid I shall be obliged 
ere long to cause myself be hurled about in a wheelbarrow. But 
of this enough. 

Your books are certainly arrived at Leith several weeks ago. 
They are in a small chest, and were addressed to Mr. Gilbert 
Mason at Leith, or to Mr. Alexander Ogilvy of the Ropework. 
The reason of this alternative, which will appear strange to you, 
is that a chest of books belonging to Mr. Wishart was sent at the 
same time with yours, addressed to Mr. Ogilvy, and I am not cer- 
tain but Mr. Craufurd sent both to the same hand. Please therefore 
to cause make inquiry at both these gentlemen; nay, the shortest 
way will perhaps be to inquire at the Custom-house, where very 
likely the chests may still be lying. If they are, please make the 
smallest be broke open, and take out your own books, which are at 
the top, and distinguished from the others by a stratum of brown 

8 Brown did make his trip to Scotland. On his return to Utrecht in September 
or October, 1767, he carried with him a letter from Boswell to Belle proposing 
a renewal of correspondence. This has not been recovered. 

9 Francois Mazerac, Boswell's former servant, had been in Scotland. I have 
not as yet discovered the circumstances. 

From the Reverend Robert Brown (22 October 1767) 363 
paper. Those below are for my brother at St. Andrews. Mr. Ogilvy, 
I hope, will be so good as either forward them by the St. Andrews 
carrier, or give them house room till called for. All expenses will be 
refunded by my brother, whom I have already advised on that 
head. Of your books, you will find wanting Johnson's Dictionary, 
which I lent with your approbation to Miss de Zuylen and could 
not get back before the others were sent to Rotterdam, which was 
in May last; Salmon's Geographical Grammar and Tooke's Pan- 
theon, which not being to be had here, I made free to keep for the 
use of a young gentleman who lives with me, and shall give orders 
that they be immediately furnished you, for my account at Edin- 
burgh; U Anglais a Bordeaux was claimed by Mr. Wishart as his 
property, and as such seized upon by his two claws. If in this the 
Laird of Carsboddie was badly founded, you are a man of law, and 
a man of weight in the Parliament House, and so can bring him to 
account. But please remember that if you call me over to give evi- 
dence, you must bear my charges; and I can neither walk afoot nor 
ride ahorseback. Le Comte de Warwick I myself lost, and there- 
fore in the place of it send Tancrede. 

You'll find a copy of the Letters I foolishly published concern- 
ing Geneva, according to the third and last edition, bound. This 
volume contains several other pieces than those you have seen. 
Should any of your acquaintances who read French have the curi- 
osity to desire to look into these Letters, &c., please indulge them 
with a loan of the book. Had I weighed all circumstances as ma- 
turely as I might have done, I would not have been the midwife of 
this performance; however there's certainly a number of very 
good things in it, and things that ought to be known. I sent a parcel 
of Cologne Gazettes in the chest. Those for the year 1763 'twas 
impossible to find; but my correspondent has promised to lose no 
opportunity of procuring them. Your orders shall be strictly fol- 
lowed with regard to these papers, as also to whatever pieces this 
country affords relative to Corsica. I have wrote to an intelligent 
and active bookseller at Amsterdam to make a collection of all such 
tracts, which he has promised to do. For the future I shall send 

364 from the Reverend Robert Brown (22 October 1767) 
whatever I have to transmit to you to your friend Mr. Stewart at 
Rotterdam, who I dare say will take particular care of it. 

I made the strictest inquiry everywhere concerning the packet 
of papers lost by Captain Kinloch, but all to no purpose. I hope he 
will be able to recollect something about it himself, otherwise shall 
begin to fear it gone for ever. Tis extremely unlucky that I had 
not kept these things still a few months longer, and carried them 
over myself; but when Mr. Kinloch left Utrecht, I had very little 
view of being in Scotland last summer. . . .* 

You flatter me with the hopes of seeing you here next summer. 
A visit from you will, I dare say, be highly acceptable to more of 
your acquaintances at Utrecht than those of my family. You must 
have received a letter lately from a very fair hand, in answer to one 
you sent by me; in which you will remember you propose and desire 
a renewal of correspondence. Such matters are too delicate for me 
to meddle in; however, without meddling, I believe one might 
say (in his private judgment) that a correspondence between you, 
and a very close one too, might be abundantly suitable to both 
parties. Should you push the question farther, and ask if it would 
be agreeable to the party on this side the water, I could make no 
answer but from pure conjecture. "And what, then, are your con- 
jectures?" perhaps you'll ask. Why, Sir, maids, you know, are shy; 
and I have been so long out of the practice of unravelling female 
hearts (for, thanks to Providence! my wife whose heart is the only 
one I give a fig for, is as sincere as her infant offspring) that I 
may be mistaken; but if I am not egregiously so, the lady in ques- 
tion would be sufficiently disposed to follow good advice on the 
occasion. What mean else those particular and impatient inquiries 

concerning Mr. B ? Scotland is certainly a country, which, 

according to the description of it, and what one sees of the Scotch 
who come abroad, one might live much more a son gre 2 than in 
England; and Edinburgh by all accounts abounds with polite, 

1 A paragraph dealing with the Douglas Cause is omitted. 

8 "To one's liking." Brown's which is written over another word, perhaps the 

where that the sense demands. 

From the Reverend Robert Brown (22 October 1767) 365 
clever, sensible people. A Scotch gentleman of character and for- 
tune is greatly preferable to half a score of Savoyard marquises, 
German counts, or Jutland barons. Sed satis superque dixi; nani 
verbum sapienti sat est? 

Shall I beg the favour of you to offer my compliments to my 
worthy friend Mr. Constable when you meet him in the Parliament 
House with his load of homings, 4 adjudications, and subpoenas 
under his arm? I intend to write him next week, if possible, desir- 
ing among other things that he will take the trouble of sending 
me by the first Leith ship for Rotterdam a ban el of Bell's best ale, 
which of all the good creatures that have entered my poor stomach 
these six months past, is, T think, the most comforting and delec- 
table. In case an opportunity should cast up before I write him, I 
beg hell be so good as dispatch it without further advice. Mr. Con- 
stable is one of the worthiest men I know, and I have reason to 
think very capable in his business. If it should fall in your way to 
wish him to a good fat cause now and then, your doing so would 
be extremely obliging to me. 

We talk of nothing here at present but the grand parade we are 
to make next Friday, on occasion of the Prince's return with his 
royal consort. 5 Oh, what fine doings there are to be at The Hague! 
When we Dutchmen take it into our heads to cut a figure, I can 
assure you we cut a long one and a large one and a broad one. The 
Princess is extremely well spoke of; and the Prince they say is 
passionately fond of her, which I pray GOD may continue to then- 
latest breath. 

Mrs. Brown and her sister join me in the very kindest compli- 
ments to you. We often remember and speak of you with pleasure. 

3 "But I have said enough and more than enough, for to a wise man a word is 
sufficient." Boswell wrote to Temple on 8 November: "Do you know I had 
a letter from Zelide the other day, written in English, and showing that an 
old flame is easily rekindled. But you will not hear of her" (Letters of James 
Boswell, ed. C. B. Tinker, i. 136). Belle's letter has not been recovered. 

4 Executions charging a debtor to pay under penalties. 

5 The young Stadtholder, William V, had married the Princess Wilhelmina 
of Prussia. 

366 From the Reverend Robert Brown (22 October 1767) 

I long much to see your History of Corsica. 'Twill make its 
way here, I suppose, early in the spring. I propose to engage Miss 

de Z to translate it. What do you think of this project? I 

shall not fail to send you all the journals where mention is made 
of it; nor do I doubt but they will all concur in commending it to 
the public. 

Shall I beg my most respectful compliments to my Lord 
your father? Believe me ever, with the truest regard, dear Sir, 
your most faithful, humble servant, 


[25. Brown to Boswell] 

Utrecht, 15 January 1768 

DEAR SIR: Having had no return to the epistle I did myself 
the honour to endite to you some considerable time ago, I ought 
not by rights to trouble you with a second; however, be it by 
rights or by wrongs, I'm resolved to do it. . . . 6 

As I am informed Captain Kinloch has been at home for some 
time past, I make no doubt but you have seen him, and that he has 
himself explained to you the channel by which he forwarded your 
papers from London, so that by his information you have recovered 
what was lost, to be assured of which will give me great pleasure. 
I hope too you received your books. It gave me pain that there 
was so much confusion in the way of sending them, but this I 
could not possibly foresee; for had not one chest been mistaken for 
another, they must have arrived in Scotland before me, which 
I had in view, and in that case I would have set all to rights in 
a moment. 

Your acquaintances here still very kindly remember you, and 
are happy in the small glimmering of hope I have given them that 
you will favour us with a visit next summer; particularly the 
family De Zuylen, who are all in perfect health. Apropos to these 

6 A long section is omitted dealing with a study of the Douglas Cause by the 
Reverend Dr. Richardson, of The Hague. 

From the Reverend Robert Brown ( 1 5 January 1 768 ) 367 

good people, you are a letter, if I mistake not, in the young lady's 
debt. How is this to be answered for or excused? When I was as 
young a man as you, I assure you I was more punctual; and yet 
must acknowledge my female correspondents were not equal to 
yours. 7 The lady in question honoured us last Sunday evening with 
her company at supper. We talked much of you. She had had pretty 
late accounts of you from one Mr. Bentinck, who passed some time 
lately at Edinburgh and lodged over head of you. 

Our town is rather gayer this winter than usual. The Laird of 
Newbyth, a young East Lothian, recommended to Mr. de Zuylen, 
has his own share in these amusements. He lodges with me. If you 
are acquainted with any of his relations, you may assure them 
freely from me that the young gentleman is doing superlatively 
well here. Mrs. Brown, who is now happily recovered of an illness 
I thought last week should have cost her her life, joins her sister 
and me in best compliments. I am with great truth, Sir, your most 
obedient and faithful servant, 


P.S. Shall I beg my compliments to Lord Auchinleck and your 
uncle, the Doctor? 

[26. Belle de Zuylen to Boswell. Original in French] 8 

Utrecht, 1 6 February 1 768 

WHAT SHALL I SAY TO YOU, MY FRIEND? Ought I to congratulate 
you or to send you condolences? Everything you tell me is so un- 
certain that I do not know which impression to fasten on. "You 
think seriously of marriage a fine girl an heiress an admira- 
ble wife for you but she does not like you but she likes nobody 
else but you hear a report but you hope it is not true" 9 

7 Boswell had anticipated Brown's advice. On 10 January he had written 
to Belle making an outright profession of love, but still leaving room for 
retreat. The letter has riot been recovered, but its contents at o pietty well can- 
vassed by Belle's reply, which follows. 

8 The French original of this letter is printed below, p. 397 
5 The quoted phrases are in English in the original. 

368 From Belle de Zuylen ( i 6 February 1 768 ) 
I wish for you everything that you wish yourself, but it would be 
rash to conclude anything from what you have written. The fact 
is you do not love conclusions; you love problems which can never 
be solved. The debate you have been conducting for so long con- 
cerning our fate if we were married is the proof of this taste of 
yours. I leave it to you to ponder, my dear Boswell. Aside from the 
fact that I am not clever enough to decide it, I take little pleasure 
in discussing so idle a question. I do not know your Scotland. On 
the map it appears to me a little out of the world. You call it "a sober 
country." 1 1 have seen it produce decidedly despotic husbands and 
humble, simple wives who blushed and looked at their lords before 
opening their mouths. That is all I know about it, and with so little 
to go on one can decide nothing. But why should I decide? The 
problem must remain as it is, and I leave it to you for your amuse- 

Allow me to remark that you certainly take your time for every- 
thing. You waited to fall in love with me until you were in the 
island of Corsica; and to tell me so, you waited until you were 
in love with another woman and had spoken to her of marriage. 
That, I repeat, that is certainly to take one's time. As for the ques- 
tion how we would do together? that came into your mind at 
Zuylen, it accompanied you in your travels, and it has been pre- 
senting itself in season and out of season ever since. A strictly 
sensible person who read our letters would perhaps not find you too 
rational, but, as for me, I do not wish to put my friend under con- 
straint. Everything his singularity prompts him to tell me shall be 
well received. Imagination is so mad a thing that when one permits 
one's self to say all it has suggested, one necessarily says foolish 
things, and what harm is there in that? I see none. I read your 
belated endearments with pleasure, with a smile. 

Well! So you once loved me! I wish you all the more success 
and happiness in the choice your heart makes at present. It seems to 
me that you interest me and belong to me a little more because of 
that than if you had always been my cold and philosophic friend. 
1 Quoted words in English. 2 Italicized words in English. 

From Belle de Zuylen ( 1 6 February 1768) 369 
Let us speak of your works. I shall be charmed to translate your 
Account of Corsica, but you will have to send it to me first. Add to 
it The Essence of the Douglas Cause. I have as yet read nothing on 
that subject. I am to receive from London a publication of yours the 
title of which I have heard given as Appeal to all the People. I shall 
be glad to be able to give my own judgment on so famous and 
interesting a cause. 

You plead very well the cause of marriage, but I could turn 
all your arguments in favour of celibacy. I have fortune enough 
so that I do not need a husband's; I have a sufficiently happy cast 
of mind and enough mental resources to be able to dispense with a 
husband, with a family, and what is called an establishment. I 
therefore make no vows, I take no resolutions; I let the days come 
and go, deciding always for the better among the things which 
Fate presents to me with some power of choice. I should be glad if 
time in its flow might carry away my thousand little faults of 
humour and character which I recognize and deplore. Often my 
progress does not come up to my good intentions. 

You ask what my life is like. To answer you, I look about me. 
My room is pretty; people like to come there. My brother is chat- 
ting near me with Mr. Baird, a young Scotsman who lives with Mr. 
Brown. I have good books and I read little, but when I do read, it 
is the best things in all the genres and it is with a pleasure that 
makes me forget in turn my toilet and my tasks. I constantly forget 
the time, I write to my friends. I read this morning one of Clarke's 
sermons with Mr. Cudgil or de Horn, an exiled Englishman, who 
listens severely and corrects from time to time the pronunciation 
of a word or a syllable. Four times a week in the evening I go with 
my brothers to Monsieur Hahn's, who explains and demonstrates 
to us electrical fire and ordinary fire, and we learn about all of 
Nature that she permits us to know. That amuses me exceedingly. 
We have balls where I dance without much pleasure, because I 
do not have a lover. We have great assemblies: I learn to play cards. 
One needs a lover if one is to like dancing, one does not need a lover 
to like gaming. 

37O From Belle de Zuylen ( 1 6 February 1 768 ) 

Farewell, my friend, I am going to Mr. Brown's. We shall speak 
of you. He sends you many friendly regards. His wife and sister are 
amiable and good, his daughter is pretty as an angel. I am always 
well received by them all, and love them all. Depend on the 
sincere and faithful friendship of your most devoted 


[27. Boswell to Belle de Zuylen] 3 

Edinburgh, 26 February 1768 

MY DEAR FRIEND, I had yesterday the pleasure of a charming 
letter from you, which shows me myself better than all the little 
philosophy which I have can do. You know me intimately, and I 
am sure whatever favour you show to me does not proceed from 
any mistake, as my faults have not escaped your penetration. But 
then the same genius which can discern my faults can also discern 
my good qualities, so that upon the whole I am happy in such a 

You rally me with inimitable pleasantry on my singular and 
fanciful conduct. But for all that I am not to blame. When I bid 
you adieu at Zuylen, I was really a stoical friend. I had then been 
for many months oppressed with melancholy, in short a very hypo- 
chondriac. I was still a slave to form and to system, and when all 
the circumstances of my situation are considered, was I to blame 
in imagining that I did not love you, and in putting on such airs 
of coldness? You would have regretted your friend had you known 
the truth. You would have seen that he acted with a kind of silent 
heroism, and who knows but you might have delivered him from 
all his distress and rendered him happy at once? I used to think, 
how can so wretched a being as I ever propose to a fine woman 
to pass her days with me? She will see me gloomy and discon- 
tented, and her charms will be lost 

8 In English. 

To Belle de Zuylen ( 26 February 1 768 ) 371 

And yet, will you believe it, my amiable friend? I have had 
moments of felicity when I almost adored you and wished to throw 
myself at your feet. But before I could have time to write to you, 
the evil spirit again darkened my soul, and I saw that I need not 
hope for any permanent comfort. In this disconsolate state I pur- 
sued my travels, the variety of which amused my melancholy 
thoughts and gave me by degrees more relief and cheerfulness 
than I ever expected. I need not tell you again that, notwithstand- 
ing of that faith which I have ever preserved, my passions hurried 
me into many licentious scenes. Dare I own that perhaps these 
contributed in some measure towards the cure of my sickly mind? 
At Paris I told your brother how much I admired you, and I wrote a 
long letter to your father asking his candid advice if I should pro- 
pose marriage to you. But the Marquis de was then in the 

field. The death of my dear mother made me return to Britain 
without seeing you as I intended. I spoke of you to Sir John 
Pringle; I spoke of you to my father. They both were against my 
marrying a foreign lady and a bel esprit. Still, however, I admired 
you, though I could not think of having you for my wife. You came 
over to London, and Sir John Pringle admired you, but thought 
you had too much vivacity for being the spouse of a Scotch lawyer 
or sober country gentleman. 

In the mean time, I supposed that I was quite indifferent to 
you. My mind became more composed and firm as I applied to the 
duties of my employment. I began to think of marriage in a ra- 
tional way. Mr. Brown came to Scotland, and he talked to me of 
Mademoiselle de Zuylen till I began to exclaim against myself 
for neglecting any possibility of obtaining so superior a lady. But 
the safe and rational plan of taking a good home-bred heiress, with 
health and common sense instead of genius and accomplishments, 
swayed me much; yet I examined my heart, and I saw I could not 
possibly live with a woman who seemed indifferent. I therefore 
resolved to have some certainty that the Heiress really liked me. 
While I waited for certainty, up came a Knight, and being a very 

3/2 To Belle de Zuylen (26 February 1 768 ) 

pretty man with a handsome fortune, he was a good match for the 
Heiress; he asked her, and she accepted of him, while I comforted 
myself on having lost a woman who, though an excellent girl, 
proved to be not what I wished. 4 

I am therefore a free man, and you cannot again tell me, "You 
certainly take your time." To be plain with you, my dear friend, 
I want your advice. I am now, I think, a very agreeable man to 
those who know my merit and excuse my faults. Whether do you 
think that you and I shall live happier: as distant correspondents, 
or as partners for life? Friends we shall always be at any rate. 
But I think it is worth our while to consider in what manner we 
may have the greatest share of felicity. If you say at once it would 
be a bad scheme for us to marry, your judgment shall be a rule 
to me. If you say that the scheme appears rather favourable for us, 
let us consider it in all lights, and contrive how we could possibly 
make the old people on each side of the water agree to it. If after 
all it cannot be, there will be no harm done. 

My Account of Corsica will be with you very soon. The Essence 
of the Douglas Cause and the Appeal to the People are the same. 
Adieu, my dear, lively, amiable friend. I am much yours, 


[EDITORIAL NOTE: At least six more letters, three by Belle and 
three by Boswell, appear to have followed within the next few 
months. None of them has come to light, but we know the nature 
of their contents, and can even recover a few sentences from them, 
from BoswelTs diary and his reports to Temple. The pertinent 
passages follow.] 5 

(To Temple, 24 March 1 768) "Do you know, my charming 
Dutchwoman and I have renewed our correspondence; and upon 

4 "The Heiress" was Miss Catherine Blair of Adamtown, a ward of Lord 
Auchinleck's; "the Knight," Sir Alexander Gilmour. But Boswell spoke 
prematurely. Miss Blair turned down Sir Alexander too, and finally married 
Sir William Maxwell of Monreith. 

5 The extracts from the letters to Temple are taken from The Letters of James 
Boswell, ed. C. B. Tinker, 1924. 

To William Johnson Temple ( 24 March 1 768) 373 
my soul, Temple, I must have her. She is so sensible, so accom- 
plished, and knows me so well and likes me so much, that I do not 
see how I can be unhappy with her. Sir John Pringle is now for it; 
and this night I write to my father begging his permission to go 
over to Utrecht just now. She very properly writes that we should 
meet without any engagement, and if we like an union for life, 
good and well; if not, we are still to be friends. What think you of 
this, Temple?" 

(To Temple, 26 April 1768) ". . . I have not yet given up with 
Zelide. Just after I wrote to you last, 6 1 received a letter from her, 
full of good sense and of tenderness. 'My dear friend,' says she, 'it is 
prejudice that has kept you so much at a distance from me. If we 
meet, I am sure that prejudice will be removed.' The letter is in 
English. I have sent it to my father, and have earnestly begged his 
permission to go and see her. I promise upon honour not to engage 
myself, but only to bring a faithful report and let him decide. Be pa- 
tient, Temple. Read the enclosed letters and return them to me. Both 
my father and you know Zelide only from me. May I not have 
taken a prejudice, considering the melancholy of my mind while 
I was at Utrecht? How do we know but she is an inestimable prize? 
Surely it is worth while to go to Holland to see a fair conclusion, 
one way or other, of what has hovered in my mind for years. I have 
written to her and told her all my perplexity. I have put in the 
plainest light what conduct I absolutely require of her, and what 
my father will require. 7 1 have bid her be my wife at present 8 and 
comfort me with a letter in which she shall show at once her 
wisdom, her spirit, and her regard for me. You shall see it. I tell 

6 That is, just after 16 April 1768, a letter of that date having intervened 
between the present and the one quoted above. 

7 He also laid down the law in another matter close to his heart, though he 
does not think it necessary to say so to Temple. Belle, who was well along 
in her translation of his Account of Corsica, had asked him if she might omit 
certain passages and change others. He peremptorily forbade her to alter or 

8 "Pretend she is my wife already." 

374 To William Johnson Temple (26 April 1768) 
you, man, she knows me and values me as you do. After reading 
the enclosed letters, I am sure you will be better disposed towards 
my charming Zelide." 

(Diary, 2 May 1 768) "Letter from Zelide termagant." 

(To Temple, 14 May 1 768) "So you are pleased with the writ- 
ings of Zelide, Ah, my friend! had you but seen the tender and 
affectionate letter which she wrote to me and which I transmitted 
to my father. And can you still oppose my union with her? Yes, you 
can; and my dearest friend, you are much in the right. I told you 
what sort of letter I last wrote to her. It was candid, fair, conscien- 
tious. I told her of many difficulties. I told her my fears from her 
levity and infidel notions, at the same time admiring her and hop- 
ing she was altered for the better. How did she answer? Read her 
letter. Could any actress at any of the theatres attack one with a 
keener what is the word? not fury, something softer. The light- 
ning that flashes with so much brilliance may scorch. And does not 
her esprit do so? Is she not a termagant, or at least will she not be 
one by the time she is forty? And she is near thirty now. Indeed, 
Temple, thou reasonest well. 9 You may believe I was perfectly 
brought over to your opinion by this acid epistle. I was then afraid 
that my father, out of his great indulgence, might have consented 
to my going to Utrecht. But I send you his answer, which is admir- 
able if you make allowance for his imagining that I am not dutiful 
towards him. I have written to him, l "I will take the Ghost's word 
for a thousand pounds." 1 How happy am I at having a friend at 
home of such wisdom and firmness. I was eager for the Guards. I 
was eager for Mademoiselle. But you have happily restrained me 
from both. Since, then, I have experienced your superior judgment 
in the two important articles of a profession and the choice of a 
wife, I shall henceforth do nothing without your advice.' Worthy 
man! this will be a solace to him upon his circuit As for Zelide I 

9 Quoting the famous soliloquy from Addison's Cato. 

1 Hamlet, in. ii. 297, 1 suppose the point is that the Ghost was Hamlet's father. 

To William Johnson Temple ( 14 May 1 768 ) 375 
have written to her that we are agreed. 'My pride/ say 1, 4 and your 
vanity would never agree. It would be like the scene in our bur- 
lesque comedy, The Rehearsal "I am the bold thunder," cries one. 
"The quick lightning I," cries another. Et voila noire menage? But 
she and I will always be good correspondents." 2 

[28. Brown to Boswell] 

[Utrecht, c. 25 December 1 769] 

DEAR SIR, I thank you very heartily for your last letter, which 
is certainly extremely obliging. A variety of reasons have induced 
me to put off making a return till now, of which this in particular 
was one that I might not be called upon in any shape whatever 
to touch upon the circumstance which occasioned the interruption 
of our correspondence. That whole affair I desire to bury in obliv- 
ion, assuring you only in the sincerest manner that nothing can 
diminish the real regard and esteem I have all along entertained 
for you, and will to my latest breath entertain, founded on that 
intimate acquaintance I had the pleasure of making with you here. 3 
I suppose I may now give you joy of your marriage, which I 
pray GOD may be the source of every possible comfort both to you 

2 They appear never to have written to each other again. Belle attributed the 
breach as much to his stiffness about the Account of Corsica as to his deter- 
mination to preserve the ascendancy of his sex. See p. 383. 

3 The cause of this interruption of correspondence is not certainly known. 
Boswell may have pressed Brown too hard in the matter of the lost journal, or 
he may have rebuked him for taking Belle's part too warmly. The first con- 
jecture perhaps receives some support from a passage in BoswelTs essay on 
diaries in The Hypochondriack, written many years later: "I left a large 
parcel of diary in Holland to be sent after me to Britain with other papers. . . . 
The packages having been loosened, some of the other papers were chafed 
and spoiled with water, but the diary was missing. I was sadly vexed, and 
felt as if a part of my vitals had been separated from me; and all the con- 
solation I received from a very good friend to whom I wrote in the most 
earnest anxiety to make inquiry if it could be found anywhere, was that 
he could discover no trace of it, though he had made diligent search in all 
the little houses [privies] , so trifling did it appear to him." 

376 From the Reverend Robert Brown (25 December 1769) 
and the lady you have chosen for your partner.* I make no doubt of 
your being happy (that is, as happy as a reasonable and sober- 
minded man will expect to be in this world) , considering the char- 
acter of your female friend and the motives which have induced 
you to make this choice. I wish you as good a wife as I myself have, 
and that you may be able to declare with a safe conscience at the 
end of seven years, as I now do, that you can wish no greater bless- 
ing to your best friend. 

My family now consists of two children, a son born last June 
and the girl at whose baptism you was pleased to act as joint god- 
father with my Lord Marischal. She has hitherto been the most 
thriving and prosperous child one could desire to see. As for her 
brother, he and I are as yet but too slightly acquainted for me to say 
much about him. His mother, who is at the same time his nurse, is 
positive he promises great things; and I am very willing to believe 

Ever since my return from Britain in 1 767, my health has been 
on a very sorry footing. Besides a weakness in my legs which 
renders me almost lame, I am much and often afflicted with bilious 
colics. I begin now to be sorry in some measure that I have rooted 
myself so deeply in this place that I must never think of moving; 
since the air and manner of living my character subjects me to, not- 
withstanding the heretical liberties I take to myself, does not at all 
agree with my constitution. There is no help for this. The interest 
of the good woman and her dear babies must go before everything 
else where life and a good conscience are not immediately con- 

Your history has been translated both into French and Dutch. 
I am surprised you don't know this, as nothing is more natural than 
that you should have a copy in both languages; which if you have 
not already, I will send you. The French translation is thought to 
be much preferable to the Dutch. I had the honour of paying my 

4 Boswell had married his cousin Margaret Montgomerie on 25 November 

From the Reverend Robert Brown (25 December 1769) 377 

respects to General Paoli 5 when he passed here. He received me 
with great affability; I found his conversation very sensible, and 
so passed half an hour with him very agreeably; but I must be sin- 
cere enough to say I discovered nothing in his countenance or be- 
haviour which decisively announces the great man a'nd the hero, 
or which strikes one with an enthusiastic veneration. To tell the 
truth, I am become much less sensible than formerly to all trans- 
ports of that or any other kind. The longer I live, the more orthodox 

and the more stoical I become 6 

Your old servant, Frangois Mazerac, has lived with me ever 
since his return from Scotland. His sight begins now to fail to such 
a degree that he is almost incapable of serving; and indeed for this 
twelvemonth past I have had very little use of him, though I have 
kept him at the rate of five guilders per week. He is desirous of re- 
turning either into Germany or Switzerland, where he will be at no 
loss to find a farmer who will find him in everything for eight 
pounds sterling a year. By next autumn he will be able to bring 
together ninety pounds sterling in all; and till next autumn I will 
keep him on the same footing as hitherto. He tells me that you was 
so good as once mention to him that you would be glad to do some- 
thing for him, when or in case age or infirmity should incapacitate 
him for further service; and he has asked me to mention this to you, 
not as if he had acquired any claim to your assistance, but only to 
make his situation known. I have thought that perhaps, on the sup- 
position of your being willing to interest yourself in behalf of this 
poor man, you might be prevailed upon to take his 90 and give 
him an annuity of ten per cent upon it during his life. This money, 
I suppose, you could lay out at five per cent interest; so that, was 
Frangois to live twenty years after next September, you should be 

6 The General of the Corsicans and hero of Boswell's Account . The French 

had finally conquered his country, and he was on his way to England, which 

had offered him honourable asylum. 

6 A paragraph dealing with Dr. Richardson's labours in the Douglas Cause is 


378 From the Reverend Robert Brown (25 December 1769) 
no loser. Besides this, he has nothing to propose; but would your 
Honour generously and charitably agree to supply him with a 
trifle annually (not inclining to enter with him into the contract 
above supposed), he will very devoutly pray for the prosperity of 
your Honour and your Honour's wife and your Honour's gentle 
bairns as long as he continues in the land of the living. This, my 
dear Sir, is what I could not refuse to lay before you, at the desire of 
the poor man; but I beg you will not imagine I mean to importune 
you in his favours. If you think proper to supply him with a guinea 
now and then, I will consider it as extremely good in you; if you 
think you are not called to any exercise of charity towards this 
particular object, I will not pretend to say you are. 

Miss de Zuylen ever since the death of her mother has kept still 
more at home than before. 7 She has not been well of late, so that I 
have seen her but seldom for several weeks past. The last time how- 
ever I had that pleasure, she desired me to make her best compli- 
ments to Mr. Boswell the first .time I wrote him, and to wish him 
joy of his marriage in her name I had almost said stead. The sec- 
ond brother, threatening a consumption, is gone to spend the winter 
at Montauban. The youngest is just returned from Germany. . . . 8 

I am, with great regard, dear Sir, your most affectionate hum- 
ble servant, 


[EDITORIAL NOTE: The reader who has immersed himself for 
long in the enormous subjectivism of Bos well's records feels 
strongly the need of some external ground of reference, of a can- 
did evaluation by some one who knew Boswell well but who was 
not writing or speaking to Boswell himself. It would be hard to 
imagine better testimonies than the casual characterizations which 
occur in the clandestine correspondence between Belle de Zuylen 

7 Madame de Zuylen died following inoculation for the smallpox in Decem- 
ber, 1768. She was only forty-four years old, having been married at the 
age of fifteen. 

8 The remainder of the letter deals with Brown's attempts to secure Corsican 
materials for Boswell, and gives a precis of the literary news of the Continent. 

Belle de Zuylen to Constant d'Hermenches 379 
and Constant d'Hermenches. There is no reason whatever to sus- 
pect them of not being perfectly candid and outspoken. Belle was 
always frank (even maligne) in discussing her friends, and D'Her- 
menches did not know Boswell well enough to have an opinion of 
him one way or the other. The following extracts are all translated 
from Lettres de Belle de Zuylen (Madame de Charriere) a Con- 
stant d'Hermenches, edited by Philippe Godet, 1909.] 

"When I go to the Assembly, I chat and play with a young 
Scotsman, full of good sense, wit, and naivete" (February or 
March, 1764). 

"Boswell saw you an instant at Madame de Maasdam's, and in 
that instant you were being very witty. I think I once told you 
about him. He is a very good friend of mine and much esteemed by 
my father and mother, so that he is always well received when he 
comes to see me. He came often while I was ill, and was so surprised 
to find me always in good humour that he almost scolded me for it; 
it seemed to him almost queer and out of place" (27 May 1 764) . 

"I am waiting impatiently for Boswell in order to hear what 
you two said to each other. He told me the other day that although 
I was a charming creature, he would not marry me if I had the 
Seven United Provinces for my dowry; I agreed heartily" (8 June 

"Mr. Boswell asked me for a letter of introduction to Voltaire, 
and I sent it to him. He told me he was going to see you that very- 
day; I envied him greatly. Since then he has given no sign of life" 
(D'Hermenches, 12 June 1764). 

"If Boswell did not write to you, it was not because he was not 
delighted with you and your letter; he showed it to me. May I be 
vain enough to recall word for word the compliment you paid me 
in it, a compliment that was very pleasing in spite of its exaggera- 
tion: *I am told that Mademoiselle de Zuylen writes as well as 
Voltaire,' &c t That 1 am told' seemed to me pretty, delicate; but 

380 Belle de Zuylen to Constant d'Hermenches 
discreet? Hardly. If there had been no mystery in the matter, you 
would have made none, but would have based your judgment on 
Le Noble, the Portraits. But never mind, that 4 I am told' pleases me 
greatly. Boswell left three weeks ago. He lectured me to the very 
end on morality, religion, and friendship. He is so good a man that 
he looks odd in this perverse age" (c. 9 July 1 764) . 

"Am I not the unluckiest of beings? I was terribly in need of 
sleep and I thought I should sleep soundly; I complained of being 
sleepy and hurried through supper, but I found in my room an 
English letter from Boswell seventeen pages long: I read it, I went 
to bed. The seventeen thousand thoughts of my friend Boswell, a 
dim recollection of Monsieur d'Hermenches, what the Marquis 
said, and some English people all that revolved in my head with 
such violence that I have not been able to stay in bed more than a 
quarter of an hour. Here I am, pen in hand; my pen will move at 
the command of a distracted brain. Don't expect what you read to 
be rational, don't think that I write to please you. I write because 
I cannot do anything else" ("In the night between Saturday and 
Sunday," 21-22 July 1764). 

"I send you the mad things I wrote last night as though there 
had been no question of being serious since; and to amuse you 
after having made you work so hard, I enclose part of Boswell's 
letter. Send it back to me tomorrow." ("Sunday evening," 22 July 
1764. D'Hcrmenchcs replied on 24 July: "The English letter 
charms me: I find in it things that take hold of me and make me 
overlook its pedantry. Now, one would like to see how he reduces 
all those respectable principles to everyday practice. That's the 
reef on which your moralizers commonly split. If they do not take 
refuge in cynicism, they condemn only those things that are not in 
the line of their own ruling passion.") 

"At fourteen, I wanted to know everything, but I have re- 
nounced that ambition since. Boswell is wrong in thinking that I 
wear myself out with speculation. A sort of scepticism, very hum- 

Belle de Zuylen to Constant d'Hermenches 381 

ble and rather peaceful that is the state I have remained in. 
When I have more illumination and better health, I shall perhaps 
envision certitudes. For the present, I see at most probabilities, 
and I experience nothing but doubts" (27 July 1764). 

"I went with my mother and father to Utrecht, where I had 
nothing to do, solely to be alone with them. In the carriage they 
spoke only of indifferent matters, and then of Boswell, who has 
written a letter full of admiration for me, of which he does not wish 
one word to be repeated to me. I related to them all his reasons for 
not marrying me. I grew merry, I told them stories (true ones) . I 
told them that at the very most, if I became a great deal more 
reasonable, more prudent, more reserved, Boswell would try in 
time to marry me to his best friend in Scotland. We were in very 
good humour. . . . [She runs over the list of her suitors,] The 
Comte d'Anhalt is the slave of his king, or is disgusted with my 
reputation. Boswell will never marry me; if he did marry me, he 
would repent a thousand times, for he is convinced that I do not 
suit him, and I do not know whether I would be willing to live in 
Scotland. His friend that is all foolishness; I would not begin on 
that litany of reforms for a man I never saw" (August, 1 764) . 

"Yesterday evening we were talking about deference. I said 
that I repudiated it: that cold compliance was always of negative 
value to me as compared to the lively and animated attentions of 
affection. That is what I always in my heart believe. I never care 
about being respected; I want people to give me much without feel- 
ing that they owe me anything; I do not wish to impose a tax, I wish 
to please. Boswell thought that very wrong. He wanted to see me in 
a large hoop, in a long dress with hanging fringes, looking grave, 
waiting until he accosted me before I smiled, not in short skirts, 
looking careless and merry. 'How can you possibly,' he used to say 
to me, 'how can you possibly neglect making yourself respected 
when it would be so easy? Instead of trying always to be prepossess- 
ing, let people look forward to some time when you consent to be 
amiable, to please, to amuse, to give yourself up to company; and 

382 Belle de Zuylen to Constant d'Hermenches 

then, after a season of freedom, resume the tone of reserve. Save all 
those wild things which you say to any one who will listen, which 
are not understood, which are misinterpreted save them for me, 
for your friend. Say them in English. You ought to manage the 
jealousies of friendship better; you ought to realize that friends 
want privileges and that they are offended when they see every- 
body getting the same treatment they do. Everybody is easy with 
you! It is terrible to see such unworthy people easy with you!' 

"But I find he was partly right, and if I was not afraid of being 
ridiculed for affectation and still more afraid of the tortures of con- 
straint, I might perhaps try his plan. You must see how his ideas fit 
his character. He 'respects mankind,' he wishes those who honour 
human nature to be set apart and have homage rendered to them; 
he wants virtue to announce itself by an imposing exterior, that 
whatever accompanies virtue shall assume an air of grandeur that 
will subdue the vulgar in advance. The austerity of his morality 
does not make him condemn the pleasures of a lively imagination, 
of free conversation, but he wants them taken in the form of recrea- 
tion: he wants me to relax with him, to take my pleasure, as a prince 
among his favourites forgets the purple and the power. Obdam, on 
the contrary, said to me one day, *0h, drop that air of gravity which 
you are always assuming when you enter a room; don't give your- 
self so much trouble to spoil your expression even for an instant. 
Remember that if a person loves you a great deal, he will always 
respect you enough.' 

"Aside from the fact that the difference between their charac- 
ters makes what is an agreeable sentiment to one disagreeable to 
the other, it is a turn of self-love that makes their judgments so con- 
trary. Boswell is pleased in advance by the respect he counts on 
winning some day; Obdam knows he has no pretensions beyond 
being amiable" (August, 1764). 

"My friend Boswell has just sent me his book, An Account of 
Corsica. The heroism of the Corsicans, the great qualities of their 
chief, the genius of the author all is interesting and admirable. I 

Belle de Zuylen to Constant d'Hermenches 383 

wish I could toss it to you, provided you would toss it back immedi- 
ately, for I want to try to translate it. There are here and there 
singularities in it that you will think ridiculous, and which I do not 
think too highly of (27 March 1768). 

"I ought to have replied sooner to any letter so pleasing as yours, 
but I could not. I have been at Amsterdam and I have been translat- 
ing. When one is busy, one waits for the post-day to write, and when 
it comes, some little unforeseen occupation obliges one to put off 
writing again. That is precisely what has always happened since 
the receipt of your last letter 

"I had anticipated the advice to translate Boswell which you 
give me. Although your approval has encouraged me, I almost re- 
pent of my agreement with the publisher. But it must be kept. I 
would never have believed that it was so difficult and wearisome to 
translate" (28 April 1768). 

"I will write with much pleasure what you ask of me: it will be 
a little extract from an interesting book which I am fond of but 
which I am no longer translating. I was far advanced in the task, 
but I wanted permission to change some things that were bad, and 
to abridge others which French impatience would have found un- 
mercifully long-winded. The author, although he had at the mo- 
ment almost made up his mind to marry me if I would have him, 
was not willing to sacrifice a syllable of his book to my taste. I wrote 
to him that I was firmly decided never to marry him, and I have 
abandoned the translation" (2 June 1 768) . 


Zelide entered the world nine days before James Boswell. She 
outlived him by ten years. For a brief moment their paths cross; he 
is illuminated for us in the clear light of her intelligence, and enacts 

6 By Geoffrey Scott, reprinted from the second volume of Colonel Isham's 
privately printed Private Papers of James Boswell. 

384 Belle de Zuylen after 1709 

for us one of his most engaging comedies. On the later and unwrit- 
ten acts of this drama Zelide in the circle of Johnson the imagi- 
nation may be left to dwell; but the union of Bos well and Zelide 
was hardly possible in human chemistry. Two characters, and two 
destinies, could scarcely be more diverse. Boswell entered a world of 
mirrors and reflections, dependent on others for a realization of 
himself, and for the exercise of his genius. Zelide, whose independ- 
ent force declared itself in early rebellion against society, turned 
scornfully from whatever was tainted by human competition and 
narrowed her life to a tragic solitude. Fantastically, three years 
after the breach with Boswell, she married her brothers' former 
tutor, Monsieur de Charriere, to escape from the restraints of 
Zuylen. Thereafter she lived with him and his two sisters near 
Neuchatel, hedging herself in a disdainful privacy and refusing to 
know even her neighbour, Voltaire. She relieved the tedium of her 
life by a rather tyrannical philanthropy, some unhappy love-af- 
fairs, the harpsichord, and literary composition. Her novel Caliste 
had much contemporary success, and was translated into English; 
it in some measure inspired the Corinne of Madame de Stael. To 
this early specimen of romantic fiction, modern taste will prefer her 
studies of provincial genre, which, at their rare best, foreshadow 
Miss Austen. But Zelide's sure literary talent is shown less in her 
books than in her correspondence. Her letters to Constant d'Her- 
menches, and, later, to Benjamin Constant, place her in the front 
rank even of eighteenth-century letter writers; their wit is never 
verbal; truth of feeling and fineness of thought sharpen the edge of 
their unfailing precision, and the gift of friendship is perilously 
allied with a surgical insight into character. Boswell, indeed, had 
fair reason for alarm. Her own emotions, naturally profound, were 
tortured by her intellect; she could enchant; but more often than 
enchantment she inspired fear, which she could not explain, and 
pity, which she scorned. She saw Benjamin Constant, after an inti- 
macy of eight years, reft from her by Madame de Stael. She staked 
all on her intimate life, and, losing, preserved a stoical silence: a 
Van Tuyll after all, a stickler for old-fashioned good manners; and, 

Belle de Zuylen after 1 769 
to the end, intolerant as Johnson himself of cant, self-deception, 
loose-thinking and illogical speech. 

When Boswell, with the plan of marrying Zelide shaping itself 
in his mind, wandered on his travels in 1 764, he visited the old 
castle, once Lord Marischars, at Colombier; and from its rampart 
looked down upon the tiled roof of the manor house under which 
Zelide was to live and die, and on the potager beyond which, for 
fifteen years on end, she never stepped. 


Inviolable Plan 
To be read over frequently 

[See p. 47, the memorandum for 16 October 1763, 
and the footnote on that entry.] 

You have got an excellent heart and bright parts. You are born to a 
respectable station in life. You are bound to do the duties of a Laird 
of Auchinleck. For some years past you have been idle, dissipated, 
absurd, and unhappy. Let those years be thought of no more. You 
are now determined to form yourself into a man. Formerly all your 
resolutions were overturned by a fit of the spleen. You believed that 
you had a real distemper. On your first coming to Utrecht you 
yielded to that idea. You endured severe torment. You was pitiful 
and wretched. You was in danger of utter ruin. This severe shock 
has proved of the highest advantage. Your friend Temple showed 
you that idleness was your sole disease. The Rambler showed you 
that vacuity, gloom, and fretfulness were the causes of your woe, 
and that you was only afflicted as others are. He furnished you with 
principles of philosophy and piety to support the soul at all times. 
You returned to Utrecht determined. You studied with diligence. 
You grew quite well. This is a certain fact You must never forget it. 
Nor attempt to plead a real incurable distemper; for you cured it, 
when it was at its very worst, merely by following a proper plan 
with diligence and activity. This is a great era in your life; for from 
this time you fairly set out upon solid principles to be a man. 

Your worthy father has the greatest affection for you and has 
suffered much from your follies. You are now resolved to make 
reparation by a rational and prudent conduct. Your dear mother is 
anxious to see you do well. All your friends and relations expect 


3 88 Inviolable Plan 

that you will be an honour to them and will be useful to them as a 
lawyer, and make them happy as an agreeable private gentleman. 

You have been long without a fixed plan and have felt the 
misery of being unsettled. You are now come abroad at a distance 
from company with whom you lived as a frivolous and as a ludi- 
crous fellow. You are to attain habits of study, so that you may have 
constant entertainment by yourself, nor be at the mercy of every 
company; and to attain propriety of conduct, that you may be 
respected. You are not to set yourself to work to become stiff and 
unnatural. You must avoid affectation. You must act as you ought 
to do in the general tenor of life, and that will establish your 
character. Lesser things will form of course. 

Remember that idleness renders you quite unhappy. That then 
your imagination broods over dreary ideas of its own forming, and 
you become contemptible and wretched. Let this be no more. Let 
your mind be filled with nobler principles. Remember religion and 
morality. Remember the dignity of human nature. Remember 
everything may be endured. 

Have a sense of piety ever on your mind, and be ever mindful 
that this is subject to no change, but will last you as long as life and 
support you at death. Elevate your soul by prayer and by contem- 
plation without mystical enthusiasm. Preserve a just, clear, and 
agreeable idea of the divine Christian religion. It is very clearly 
proved. You cannot expect demonstration. There is virtue in faith: 
in giving a candid assent upon examination. Keep quite clear of 
gloomy notions which have nothing to do with the mild and elegant 
religion of Jesus as it is beautifully displayed in the New Testa- 
ment. Have this faith always firm. Be steady to the Church of Eng- 
land, whose noble worship has always raised your mind to exalted 
devotion and meditation on the joys of heaven. Be firm to religion, 
and at all times show your displeasure to profanity, like a decent 
gentleman. But don't enter into disputes in riotous and ludicrous 
companies where sacred things cannot be properly weighed. 

Without a real plan, life is insipid and uneasy. You have an ad- 
mirable plan before you. You are to return to Scotland, be one of the 

Inviolable Plan 389 

Faculty of Advocates, have constant occupation, and a prospect of 
being in Parliament, or having a gown. You can live quite inde- 
pendent and go to London every year; and you can pass some 
months at Auchinleck, doing good to your tenants and living hos- 
pitably with your neighbours, beautifying your estate, rearing a 
family, and piously preparing for immortal felicity. To have all 
these advantages, firmness is necessary. Have constant command of 
yourself. Restrain ludicrous talents and, by habit, talk always on 
some useful subject, or enliven conversation with moderate cheer- 
fulness. Keep to study ever to improve. Have your own plan and 
don't be put out of it. Your friends Temple and Johnston will assist 
you to do well. Never talk of yourself , nor repeat what you hear in 
a company. Be firm, and persist like a philosopher. 

Now remember what you have resolved. Keep firm to your 
plan. Life has much uneasiness; that is certain. Always remember 
that, and it will never surprise you. Remember also life has much 
happiness. To bear is the noble power of man. This gives true dig- 
nity. Trifles are more frequently the causes of our disturbance than 
great matters. Be prepared therefore for uneasy trifles. You have 
indulged antipathies to places and persons. That is the sign of a 
weak and diseased mind. A hysteric lady or a sickly peevish boy 
may be so swayed. But let not antipathies move a man. It is not 
sensibility. You can cure it and at all times do so. 

Resolve to make constant experiments, and be more and more 
confirmed in your theory. A man has much the command of his 
ideas. Check little uneasy ones. Encourage little pleasing ones. He 
who has baseless antipathies is foolishly deprived of much pleasure. 
Your great loss is too much wildness of fancy and ludicrous imagi- 
nation. These are fine if regulated and given out in moderation, as 
Mr. Addison has done and as Sir David Dalrymple does. The pleas- 
ure of laughing is great. But the pleasure of being a respected 
gentleman is greater. 

You have a character to support. You have to keep up the family 
of Auchinleck. To do this, your mind must be settled and filled with 
knowledge, and with good plain ideas of common sense and the 

3QO Inviolable Plan 

practice of mankind, although you may be a Church-of -England 
man and indulge any other favourite principles; only never talk at 
random. Every man should be the best judge how to regulate his 
own conduct; there are many minutiae particular to every char- 
acter. For some time be excessively careful against rattling, though 
cheerful to listen to others. What may be innocent to others is a 
fault to you till you attain more command of yourself. Temperance 
is very necessary for you, so never indulge your appetites without 
restraint. Be assured that restraint is always safe and always gives 
strength to virtue. Exercise must never be neglected, for without 
that you cannot have health, and health contributes much to ren- 
der you fit for every duty. Never indulge the sarcastical Scotch 
humour. Be not jocular and free, and then you will not be hurt by 
the jocularity and freedom of others. If you are polite, you will 
seldom meet with uneasy rubs in conversation. 

Tijua ffecLvrovi reverence thyself. 1 But at the same time be afraid 
for thyself. Ever keep in mind your firm resolutions. If you should 
at times forget them, don't be cast down. Return with redoubled 
vigour to the field of propriety. Upon the whole you will be an ex- 
cellent character. You will have all advantages from the approba- 
tion of the World, in your rational plan, which may be enlarged as 
you see occasion. But yield not to whims, nor ever be rash. 

1 A personal variation of the famous yv&6t <reavr6v ("know thyself'), the 
inscription on the Temple at Delphi. Boswell was fond of it but never man- 
aged to get the Greek right. The manuscript here actually reads ripv. 


Boswell's French Theme on the Aston Family 

[See pp. xvii and 190. Boswell's spelling and capitalization have been re- 
tained, but some liberties have been taken with his punctuation.] 

Je veux tacher de raconter en assez bon frangois la conversation de 
Monsieur Brown hier a diner. Nous avons eu, dit il, a Utrecht une 
famille angloise la plus exotique qu'on puisse concevoir. Le Cheva- 
lier Willoughby Aston avoit un bien de cinq mille livres par an, 
dans Touest d'Angletterre. II a depense beaucoup d'argent pour 
gagner une election qu'il a pourtant perdu; et il a vecu sur un pied 
trop splendide. II trouvoit ses affaires un peu embarrassees, et il fit 
resolution de passer quelques annees dans des pais etrangers, af in 
qu'il epargneroit. II etoit un gros cochon, un lourdaud immense. II 
louchoit horriblement mais il ne lui manquoit pas une espece de 
rude sens commun, et comme il avoit ete Justice du paix pendant 
plusieurs annees, il savoit tres bien the poors rates, les taux des 
pauvres. Sa femme etoit une etre la plus ridicule et la plus degou- 
tante. Elle avoit pres de cinquant ans et elle s'habilloit comme une 
fille de seize. Elle etoit affectee et vaine et insipide et capriceuse. 
Son frere Monsieur Pie, Negociant a Amsterdam, la detestoit II a 
engage de venir et diner chez elle, et la presenter son epouse. 
Madame d' Aston etoit seule a Utrecht. M. Brown etoit invite a cette 
diner. II y alloit a quatre heures et il craignoit d'etre trop tard. Mais 
le diner etoit arrete jusque a cinque 2 heures. Milady devenoit tres 
impatiente. Elle demandoit de Monsieur Brown s'il n'avoit pas 
faim. II 1'avouoit. "Mais," dit il, "il faut attendre pour Monsieur 
Pie car il a dit qu'il seroit un peu tard." C'etoit une observation tres 
juste et tres sensee. II a pourtant frappee en quelque mannierre 
outree la tete vertigineuse de Milady. II a fait la venir dans 1'esprit: 
"Ma foy, ces Bourgeois sont tres impolis. Us doivent ses conformer 
2 Boswell has struck out the final e. He probably meant to indicate the spell- 
ing cinq. 

392 French Theme 

aux heures de Gens de qualite. Je n'attenderai pas un moment de 
plus." Monsieur Brown la prioit de ne prendre pas des telles mesures 
precipites. Mais elle etoit inexorable. Elle a fait venir le diner et 
Milady et Monsieur Brown se mettoient a table de dix huit plaats. 
Apeine avoient ils commences a manger la soupe quand toute la 
Compagnie arrivoit, et avant que toutes les ceremonies f ussent finis 
le diner fut froid. Ils 1'ont manges pourtant, et Miladi se donnoit 
des airs immenses. Apres dine ils ont ses mits aux Cartes. Monsieur 
Brown et Monsieur Pie ne jouoient pas mais causoient ensemble en 
Hollandois. "Eh bien," dit Pie, "avez vous jamais vu la pareille de 
ma Seure la? Je crois qu'elle est la plus grande folle dans le monde." 
"Mais," disoit M. Brown, "pourquoy est-ce que vous laissez ces 
Gens voyager plus? Ils s'exposeroient par tout." "Cela est vraye," 
repondit M. Pie, "mais Je les laisse voyager parce que Je veux qu'ils 
seroient loin de Moy." Sir Willoughby restoit au lit jusque & une 
heure. II s'elevoit, et se mit devant le feu avec la dernierre Paresse. 
II crioit a une de ces filles, "Polly! mes souliers a a ." Elle les 
apportoit. "A " dit II, "souliers sans boucles a a ." II gromme- 
loit ainsi toute la matinnee. II aimoit beaucoup a boire quand il 
avoit de Compagnie. II vivoit & Utrecht sur un pied magnifique. II 
recevoit beaucoup de politesses; mais a la fin il a ennuie tout le 
Monde. Giffardierre et Hill, deux jeunes Predicants qui aimoient a 
vivre bien, etoient les seuls qui restoient f irmes a la f amille d' Aston. 
Le Chevalier avoient cinq filles dont 1'ainee etoit extremement 
aimable et souffroit beaucoup de 1'absurdite* de son Pere et de sa 
mere. Le Jeune Willoughby etoit le drole le plus mechant san la 
moindre grain de Bienseance. II a entre* un Samedi chez une Societe 
nombreuse sans invitation. II a jase et bu et mange* leurs crackelins, 
jusque a ce que Monsieur Cochrane lui donnoit sur les doix et le 
chasse de la Chambre. Telle fut la famille d' Aston. Ils avoient un 
domestique ecossois qu'ils appelloient Hume et Humes. Monsieur 
Brown lui demandoit, "Comment est-ce que vous avez ce nom la?" 
"Poh!" dit II, "mon nom est Hugh Mcgregor, mais cette folle 
Miladi m'a donne* le nom de Humes." Cette celebre famille est & 
present a Tours en france, ou ils depensent plus d'argent qu'ils 
n'avoient depense"s en Angletterre. 



Letter of Abraham Gronovius to Bosivell 

[The spelling and punctuation are those of the manuscript; capitalization 
has been standardized. See translation on p. 278.] 

NOBILISSIME AMICISSIMEQUE, Plurimum equidem singular! 
humanitati tuae me debere profiteer, quod, etsi temporis angustiis 
inclusus, me praeterita Mercurii die in hortulo jucundissima prae- 
sentia tua dignatus fueris; speroque te salvum Ultrajectum per- 
venisse: at rubore suffundor ad eximiam liberalitatem tuam, cujus 
vinculo me tibi obstrictum agnosco; siquidem quinque et quadra- 
ginta lagenae falerni Lusitanici jussu tuo et opera Clarissimi 
Craufurdii Roteradamo hodie ad me perlatae sunt. Quid autem pro 
hoc munere tibi rependam, quas grates propensae huic voluntati 
tuae habeam, vix invenio. Interim iter in Germaniam, quod una 
cum illustrissimo heroe Comite Marshallino suscepturus es, tibi 
felix faustumque voveo; eoque prospere peracto, vehementer mini 
gratulabor, si suavissimo adfabilis oris tui adloquio iterum frui, 
virtutesque tuas, quibus ingenuum pectus exornasti, admirari mihi 
contigerit. Perge itaque paterna vestigia premere, hoc est pietatem, 
virtutem atque eruditionem colere, et hoc pacto nominis Boswelli- 
ani gloriam ad commodum patriae tuae, quam etiam gratam tuis 
meritis aliquando responsuram auguror, amplificare. Quod det 
Deus O. M. s Vale meum decus et amare perge tuum 

ABRAHAMUM GnorsroviuM. 

Dabam Leidis, 

A. D. V. Eid. Junii, 


8 "Optimus Maximus." 



Letter of Francois Mazerac to Boswell 

[The spelling, capitalization, and punctuation of the manuscript 
have been retained. See translation on p. 290.] 


Mon peu de Capasit met* met presque hors d'etat de satisf aire a 
vos ordre, jespere que Monsieur les Recevra avec bonte comme 
venant d'une personne qui ne cherche qua vous obeir 

premierement jai trouv que Monsieur est extremement negli- 
gent sur son argent montre es autres ef et en les laisant sur la Table 
au 5 la Cl sur le bureau es en sortant de la Chambre laisant la port 
ouverte comme il met arive plusieur foi a la Haye, si jamai il 
arivoit, que vous usie 6 le Malleur de perdre quelque chosse de cette 
Maniere vous pourie avoir soupsons sur votre Domestique ou autre 
personne qui serait jnocent on dit pour proverbe 1'ocation fait le 

secondement jai trouve" que Monsieur avez le Coeur bon pour 
faire du bien au pauvre vertu qui nous et dict6 par 1'humanit^, et 
ordone par la Religions 

troisiemement Monsieur net point medisant vice voor 7 comun 
parmi les Grand espiti 8 

Droisiemement exact dans les devoir de votre Religion soit pour 
aller a lEglice ne point jurer surtout a faire votre priere tous les 

quatriemement jai trouve que quand Monsieur avez priez 
quelquun les Convi6z ete toujour ches vous avan vous ce qui vous 
poures faire des Reproche sur tous dans un autre pais ou il sont plus 
sur leur point d'honneur quici 

4 Read me. * Read ou. 6 That is, eussiez. 

* That is, fort. Frangois gives the word a Dutch spelling. Notice also below 

his substitutions of t for d and d for t: e.g., dart for lord. 

8 Read esprits. 

From Francois Mazerac 395 

Cinquiemement jai trouve que Monsieur saplique trop a letude 
noble en elle meme Mai Ruinneuce pour la sante si elle ne se fait 
avec Menagement 

sixiemement je trouve que Monsieur se Couche trop tart qui 
avec lettude, vous feront pertre la sante et dont Monsieur se Re- 
pentira quand il sera trop dart et quil ni aura point de Remede 

septiemement es pour dernie article jai trouve en Monsieur un 
Coeur Veritablement Chretien es noble sur tout a Mon Egart et 
que je Noublierai jamai Veullie le pere des pere Vous prendre en sa 
sainte Garde avoir loeil sur Vous, vous Gardan comme son afant 
cheri, quil guide vos pas dirige vos pensee afin quil ne vous arive 
au'qun Malleur. et quetant de Redour ches vous saint et sauf vous 
Ten benissies eternellement 

je finit'en Remerciant encore Monsieur pour doute ses bont et le 
1 prie'nt de se Resouvenir quelque foi de Moi pour Moi je ne Croi 
pas que joublierai Monsieur jamai 

Monsieur si jamai locasion se presente permete moi de vous 
prie de savoir comment Monsieur se port 

wotre tres af liges et f itelle Domestique 

frangois Mazerac. 
Utrecht ce 17 
juin 1764 

[List by Frangois Mazerac. Original in French] 

Clothes and linens that I found on entering the service of Mon- 
sieur Boswell 

i coat, waistcoat, and breeches, with silver lace 

i red coat, waistcoat, and breeches, with gold lace 

i rose-coloured coat and waistcoat, with gold buttons 

i blue coat, waistcoat, and breeches, with white buttons 

i brown frock-coat 

i pair of black silk breeches 

i pair of buckskin breeches 

i hat with gold lace 

396 List of BosiveWs Clothes 

i sword with a silver hilt 

5 pairs of shoes 

1 pair of slippers 

2 pairs of shoe -buckles 
i pair of garter-buckles 
i collar clasp 9 

i pair of shirt buttons 
1 5 ruffled shirts 

3 night-shirts 
14 collars 

6 ditto, new 

6 new silk handkerchiefs, white ground 
5 ditto, cotton, red ground 

1 ditto, old, white ground 

4 night-caps 

2 sets of lace ruffles 

2 pairs black silk stockings, new 

2 pairs white silk stockings, new 

3 pairs ditto, old 

7 pairs thread and cotton stockings 
i pair of boots 

i powdering jacket 
& "Un Boucle de Col." 


Letter of Belle de Zuylen to Boswell 

[The spelling of the manuscript has been retained, 

but a few marks of punctuation have been added to regularize its breathless 
but fairly systematic punctuation. See pp. xvii and 367.] 

QUE vous DIRAI-JE, MON AMI? Faut-il vous feliciter ou vous 
plaindre? Tout ce que vous me dites est si douteux que je ne sai a 
quelle impression m'arreter. You think seriously of marriage, a fine 
girl, an heiress, an admirable wife for you, but she does not like you, 
but she likes no body else, but you hear a report, but you hope it is 
not true: moi, je vous souhaite tout ce que vous souhaitez, mais il 
seroit temeraire de rien conclure de tout ce que vous dites, aussi 
n'aimez vous pas les conclusions, vous aimez les problemes qu'on ne 
peut jamais resoudre. Celui que vous proposez depuis si longtems 
sur notre sort si nous etions maries est la preuve de ce gout: je vous le 
laisse a mediter, mon cher Boswell; outre que je ne suis pas assez 
habile pour decider, je trouve peu de plaisir a discuter une question 
aussi oiseuse. Je ne connois pas votre Ecosse, sur la carte elle me 
paroit un peu hors du monde. Vous Tapellez a sober country, j'en ai 
vu sortir des maris assez despotiques et d'humbles bonnes femmes 
qui rougissoient et regardoient leurs epoux avant que d'ouvrir 
la bouche, voila tout ce que j'en sai et la dessus on ne peut rien de- 
cider, mais pourquoi deciderois-je? II faut que ce probleme reste ce 
qu'il est, et je vous le laisse pour amusement 

Permettez moi de remarquer que vous prenez bien votre terns 
pour toutes choses. Vous avez attendu pour m'aimer que vous 
fussiez dans Tile de Corse, et pour me le dire vous avez attendu que 
vous en aimassiez un autre et que lui eussiez parl de marriage: 
voila encore une f ois, voila bien prendre son terns. Pour la question 
how we would do together, elle a pris naissance a Zuylen, elle vous 
a accompagnS dans vos voyages, et elle se represente en terns et hors 

398 From Belle de Zuylen 

de terns. Une personne sense qui liroit nos lettres ne vous trouveroit 
peut-etre pas trop raisonnable, mais pour moi je ne veux pas gener 
mon ami, tout ce que sa singularite voudra me dire sera bien receu: 
rimagination est si folle que quand on se permet de dire tout ce 
qu'elle dicte, il faut bien dire des folies, et quel mal a cela? Je n'en 
vois aucun. J'ai lu avec plaisir et en souriant vos tardives douceurs. 
Ah! vous m'aimiez done! Je vous en souhaite d'autant plus de 
succes et de felicite dans le choix que fait a present votre coeur. II 
me semble que vous m'interressez et m'apartenez un peu plus a 
cause de cela que si vous aviez toujours ete mon froid et philoso- 
phique ami. 

Parlons de vos ouvrages: je serois charme de traduire votre his- 
toire, mais il faut me 1'envoyer. Joignez y V Essence de V affaire des 
Douglas. Je n'ai encore rien lu la dessus. On doit m'envoyer de 
Londres un ecrit de vous qu' on m'a nomme Appel a toute la nation. 
Je serai bien aise de pouvoir juger par moi meme d'une cause si 
fameuse et si interressante. 

Vous plaidez assez bien celle du marriage, mais je pourois 
tourner tous vos argumens en f aveur du celibat. J'ai assez de fortune 
pour n'avoir pas besoin de celle d'un mari. J'ai 1'humcur assez 
heureuse et assez de ressources dans Tesprit pour me passer d'un 
mari, d'un menage, et de ce qu'on apelle un etablissement. Je ne 
fais done point de voeu, je ne prens point de resolution; je laisse les 
jours venir et passer, me decidant toujours pour ce que le sort me 
presente de mieux parmi les choses dont il me laisse le choix: je 
voudrois que le terns en s'ecoulant emportat mille petits defauts 
d'humeur et de caractere que je reconnois et que je deplore. Souvent 
la dessus mes progres ne repondent pas a mes bonnes intentions. 

Vous demandez comment je vis. Pour vous repondre je regarde 
autour de moi. Ma chambre est jolie, on aime a y venir. Mon frerc 
cause ici pres de moi avec Mr Baird, jeunc Ecossois qui demeure 
chez M. Brown; j'ai de bons livres et je lis peu, mais quand je lis ce 
sont les meilleures choses dans tous les genres, et c'est avec un 
plaisir qui me fait negliger tour a tour ma toilette et mes devoirs. 
J'oublie sans cesse les heures, j'ecris a mes amis, J'ai lu ce matin 

From Belle de Zuylen 399 

un sermon de Clarke avec Mr Cudgil ou de Horn, un Anglois exile 
qui m'ecoute severement et corrige de terns en terns le son d'un 
mot ou d'une sillabe. Quatre fois par semaine je vai 1'apres dine 
avec mes freres chez M. Hahn qui nous dit et nous montre ce que 
c'est que le feu electrique et le feu ordinaire, et nous aprenons a 
connoitre de la Nature tout ce qu'elle permet qu'on en connoisse. 
Cela m'amuse extremement. Nous avons des bals ou je danse sans 
beaucoup de plaisir parce que je n'ai point d'amant. Nous avons de 
grandes assemblies: faprens a jouer. II faut un amant pour aimer 
la danse, il faut n'en avoir point pour aimer le jeu. 

Adieu, mon ami, je vai chez M. Brown, nous parlerons de vous, 
il vous fait beaucoup d'amities. Sa femme et sa soeur sont aimables 
et bonnes, sa fille est jolie comme un ange. Je suis tou jours bien 
receue de tous et les aime tous. Comptez sur 1'amitie sincere et 
f idele de votre tres devouee 


Utrecht ce 16 Fevr. 1 768 


This is for the greater part an index of proper names, but Part n of the 
article BOSWELL, JAMES provides general headings for Boswell's traits 
of character, opinions, and religious sentiments. Observations on persons 
and places are generally entered under the person or place in question; 
for example, Boswell's opinions of the Reverend Robert Brown should 
be looked for under Brown and not under Boswell. Churches, inns, 
streets, &c. in Dutch cities are grouped under the cities concerned; if 
outside of Holland, churches, inns, streets, counties, mountains, &c. 
are given separate articles in the main alphabet. When a city, town, 
or other territorial designation is given without further specification, 
it may be assumed that it is in Holland. Peers and peeresses, Lords of 
Session and their wives are indexed under titles rather than family 
names, the titles chosen being usually those proper to 1764, but this 
rule has been broken when a person is decidedly better known by a 
later title or a family name. Isabella Agneta Elisabeth van Tuyll van 
Serooskerken, later Mme de Charriere, is entered as ZUYLEN, BELLE DE. 
The following abbreviations are employed: D. (Duke), E. (Earl), 
M. (Marquess), V. (Viscount), JB (James Boswell). 

Abbott, C. Colleer, i Ablaing, Johan Daniel <T, Baron van 

Abel, Karl Friedrich, German musician, Giessenburg, 263 

52 n. Adam Collection, 92 72,9 

Abercrombie, "the lives of the authors Addison, Joseph, 2, 389; Remarks on 
and warriors of Scotland," 164-165. Several Parts of Italy, &c., 257; Cato, 
(No such title has been traced. JB 374; see also Spectator, 

appears to have confused Patrick Aber- Aix, France, 324 

cromby, author of Martial Atchiev- Aix-la-Chapelle, Germany, 357 

merits of the Scots Nation, with George Albinus, at Utrecht, 84, 85, 86 

Mackenzie, author of Lives and Char- Alembert, Jean Le Rond d' f 77, 83; Essai 
acters of the Most Eminent Writers of fur la societe des gens de lettres el des 
the Scots Nation.) Brands, 338 

Aberdeen, George Gordon, 3rd E. of, Allanbank, estate in Scotland, 269 

brother of Hon. Charles Gordon, 16, Alps, 227 

117j 122 Amehsweerd, Hendrik van Utenhoven, 

Aberdeen, Scotland, 221 Heer van, 85 


4O2 Index 

Axnelisweerd, Maria Jacoba Kornelia 
(Countess van Efferen) van, wife of 
the preceding, 85, 94, 146, i?9> 180 

Amerongen, Anna Susanna (Hasselaer) 
van, sister of Mme Geelvmck, 71, 137, 


Amerongen, Gerard Godart, Baron Taets 
van, husband of the preceding, 137, 
145-146, 196, 328 

Amerongen, Joost, Baron Taets van, son 
of the preceding, 169 

Amerongen, N. (Mossel) van, wife of 
Gerard Maximiliaan Taets van Amer- 
ongen, 143 

Amersfoort, 328 

Amsterdam, Lord Auchinleck calls a fine 
city, 53; publishing center of Holland, 
245; its rich merchants, 289; its resist- 
ance to national authority, 289; JB 
visits, 10, 260-261; JB's thoughts of 
limited to its prostitutes, 192, 236, 249, 
259, 260 724; places at- English church, 
53, 261, Farquhar's (tax em), 261; 
Grub's (inn), 260; speel (music) 
houses, 261 72.6, Stadthouse, 53 

Anabasis. See Xenophon 

Anacharsis, Scythian philosopher, 252 

Anacreon, 96 72.8, 219 

Anaxarchus, Greek philosopher, 252 72.3 

Angers, France, 12 

Anhalt-Dessau, Fnedrich, Count of, 287, 
314, 321, 381, 324 

Anhalt-Dessau, Wilhelm Gustav, Hered- 
itary Prince of, 287 72.3 

Anhalt-Dessau, Germany, 322, 328 

Anna Ivanovna, Empress of Russia, 9 n.8 

Annandale, Scotland, 58, 124 

Anne, Princess Royal of England, widow 
of William IV and regent of Holland, 
116 n. 

Arbuthnot, John, M.D., and others, 
Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus, 42 

Argens, Jean Baptiste de Boyer, Marquis 
d', French author, 50 

Aristophanes, Plutus, 91 

Armstrong, John, Scottish physician, 
poet, and essayist, The Art of Preserv- 
ing Health, 246 

Arne, Thomas Augustine, English com- 
poser, 52; Artaxerxe$ t 52 

Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh, 40, 119, 124, 

Assenburgh (PAsschenbergh), Mile, at 
Utrecht, 71 

Aston, Elizabeth (Pye), Lady, 191-192 

Aston, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Sir 
Willoughby and Lady Aston, 192 

Aston, Mary ("Molly"), 190 n.6 

Aston, Mary ("Polly"), daughter of Sir 
Willoughby and Lady Aston, 192 

Aston, Sir Willoughby, Bt., 190-192 

Aston, Willoughby, later Sir Willoughby 
Aston, Bt., son of preceding, 192 

Athlone, Frederick Christian Reinhart 
van Reede, 5th E. of, 106 72.1, 233, 356 

Aubery du Maurier, Louis, French his- 
torian, Memoires pour servir a I'his- 
toire de Hollande, 66 

Auchinleck (Alexander Boswell), Lord, 
father of JB, Senator of the College of 
Justice, Edinburgh, i, 44 72.6, 108 72.2, 

348, descended from noble Dutch 
family, 3, 65-66, 109, 220, 236, 240 
72.7; his Christian name from Lord 
Kincardine, 53 72.; spells the family 
name with one 1 9 27 72.7; studied law 
at Leyden, 2-3, 17, 53, 105, 148, 229; 
a classicist and friend of Abraham 
Gronovius, 25-26, 65, 96 72.8, 108, 117, 
218, 219, 234, 235; learned to speak 
Dutch, 109-110, 148-149; smoked 
while in Holland, 125; friend of Dr. 
(later Sir) John Prmgle, 237 72.8, 354; 
laird of Auchinleck, i, 26, 347-348, de- 
voted to gardening and farming, 26, 
53-54, 65, 219, contemptuous of Free- 
masonry, 58 72.3; his riposte to Johnson, 
130 72.; his anecdote of the Dutch 
widow, 148-149, writes letters for the 
family at home, 237 72.8, goes on cir- 
cuit, 26, 220; seriously ill in 1765, 342, 

349, 353, characterized, 12, 15, 226, 

Relations with JB. Letters to JB 
(texts), 25, 52, 65, 108, 218, 233, 354; 
uniecovered letters to JB, 108 72.9, 123 

72.5, 349 n ''> none * JB's to, recovered, 
123 77.5; JB records receipt of letters 
from, 67, 92, l8l 221, 2 36, 268; JB 
counsels himself to write to, 40, 47, 
104, 107, 192, 237, 247, 249; unlike JB 
in temperament, 58 n.i; educated JB 
in sentiment of respect for family, 337; 
wished JB to study law, distressed by 
his levity and Army scheme, 1-2, 5, 
35, 387; angered JB by opening his 
private papers, 123; JB makes memo- 
randum to emulate, 3, 4; JB counsels 
himself to remember remark of, 20; 
JB wishes to please by firmness and 
good behaviour, 3, 4, 8, 9, 22, 35, 170, 
174, *95> 226, 231, 237, 243; wish that 
JB remain in Utrecht debated by JB 
and his friends, 13, 15, 17, 77, 83; 
counsels JB against dissipation and bad 
company, 26, 309 .; arranges credit 
for JB, 26-27; JB does not at first in- 
form of his melancholy, 29, 31, 42; JB 
considers his approval of any marriage 
scheme necessary, 36, 346; recommends 
that JB make some calls in Amster- 
dam, 53, 260 72.4; counsels him to take 
notes and avoid idleness, 53, 212; ap- 
proves JB's plan of study, tells him 
about his Dutch relations, 65-66, 95; 
JB makes note to send discourse for 
Literary Society to, 86; JB counsels 
himself to remember that he is inde- 
pendent of, 107; counsels JB to wait 
on the Ambassador, buy incunabula, 
leave metaphysics alone; approves his 
learning Dutch, 108-110; JB tells of 
his melancholy, 194, 196, 226; JB fears 
he will not allow an extensive tour, 
195; greatly concerned by JB's melan- 
choly, recommends having many in- 
terests and being constantly busy, 218- 
219, 233-235; jokes JB on his marriage 
schemes, 220; thinks travelling a use- 
less thing, will permit a visit to Paris 
or a brief tour of German courts, 221, 
227, 235-236; Andrew Stuart to inter- 
cede with for a more handsome tour, 
266; pleased with JB, arranges for him 
to travel with Lord Marischal, 268, 

Index 403 

280, 283; seriously ill, urges JB to re- 
turn home, 342 72.5; grants JB a month 
in Paris, but summons him home at 
once on Lady Auchinleck's death, 296, 
349> 352 n. t 354; disapproves of Belle 
de Zuylen, refuses to sanction a trip 
to visit her, 349, 354-355; opposes JB's 
later suggestion of visiting with view 
to marriage, 371, 373, 374; mentioned, 
*3> 21, 47 !, 59, 92, 147> 269, 316, 
353, 366, 367, 372 714 

Auchinleck (Euphemia Erskine), Lady, 
mother of JB, grew up at Culross, 240 
72.7, descended from Sommelsdycks, 
240 n 7; gains somewhat in health, 221; 
her death, 296, 352 n., 354, 371; char- 
acterized, 169 72.7, 354; Dr. Boswell 
reports to concerning JB, 59; induces 
JB to read Confession of Faith of the 
Church of Scotland, 128-129, mem. to 
write to, 237, 246, 249; JB's love for, 
237 72.8; she and JB seldom correspond, 
237 72.8, anxious to see JB do well, 387; 
mentioned, 26, 66, 236 

Auchinleck, family of, 34, 157, 225, 226, 
346, 347, 389 

Auchinleck (house and estate), seat of 
the Boswells, x; promising harvest at, 
26; Lord Auchinleck dresses the 
ground about the house, 26; JB's plans 
for living at, 34, 389; JB hopes his 
English friends will visit him at, 35; 
JB's obligation to live at, a factor in 
choosing a wife, 36; mem. to groom 
himself to be laird of, 38; pronounced 
"Affleck" in eighteenth century, 59, 
204, JB hopes to die at, or in London or 
Edinburgh, 61; library at, no 72.5; JB 
hopes to do good at, 212; JB reminded 
of his association with, 214; motto on 
front of new house at, 235 72.8; JB 
bound to perform duties of laird of, 
387, mentioned, 3, 77, 193, 217, 260, 

359 -5 

Auerstedt, Germany, 144 72.4 
Aumale, Countess d', at Utrecht, 312 
Aumale, Countesses d', at Utrecht, 71, 

312 72. 

Austen, Jane, 384 

404 Index 

Averhoult, Miles d', at Utrecht, 71, 328 
Ayrshire, Scotland, i, 115 n., 232 71.2, 280 

Baden-Durlach, Karl Friedrich, Mar- 
grave Of, 221, 327 

Baden-Durlach, Court of, 227, 249 

Baird, Robert, of Newbyth, 367, 369 

Barbour, John, Scottish poet, 165 n. 

Bart, proprietor of the Keiserhof at 
Utrecht, 156, 254 

Bath, England, 234 

Baxter, Andrew, Scottish philosopher, 

Bayle, Pierre, French philosopher, 183 

Bedford, John Russell, 7th D. of, 272 

Bellamy, George Anne, actress, 176 

Bellegarde, Francois-Eugene Robert, 
Comte de (also Marquis des Marches 
and de Cursinge), account of him, 
297 n.8, 341, 342; characterized, 304; 
Belle de Zuylen considers herself in 
love with, plans to marry, 295, 297- 
298, 304, 341; makes a proposal of 
marriage to Belle, 330, 341342; diffi- 
culties because of his religion, 304, 342, 
353; JB thinks Belle would prefer him- 
self to, 344-345; JB would defer suit 
till his is settled, 346, mentioned, 350, 
360, 371 

Bellenden, John, Scottish divine and poet, 

Bellevue, near Cleves, Germany, estate 
of Baron von Spaen, 217, 275 

Bennett, C. H., xix 

Bennett, Lady Camilla Elizabeth, daugh- 
ter of the Earl of Tankerville, married 
Count Donhof, 324-325, 327 

Bentinck, Major Rudolph, 367 

Bentinck de Varel, Christian Frederick 
Anthony, Count, account of him, 239 
72.4; his command of English, 273 71.5; 
characterized, 340; letters to JB, 273, 
276; JB sups with, 239; JB checks him 
from being too free, 240-241; mem. to 
visit, 243, JB in his company at Zuy- 
len, 259; serves as intermediary in 
correspondence between Belle and JB, 
305, 308; visits England, 340; stops 
writing to JB, 340 

Bentinck de Varel, Maria Catharina (van 
Tuyll), Countess, 239 72.4 

Berkeley, Norborne, M.P., 72 

Berlin, Germany, JB thinks of escaping 
to from Utrecht, 10; Lord Auchinleck 
assures JB of kind reception at, 221; JB 
plans to visit, 227, 277, 280, 282; De 
Guiffardiere sets down qualities needed 
to please at, 256; JB to accompany 
Lord Marischal to, 268, 269; Lord 
Marischal expected to promote JB 
socially at, 274; JB spends summer at, 
296; JB pleased with, 314, 316, 319; 
M. de Zuylen expects JB to improve 
his French at, 320; JB leaves, 322 

Bernard, PJean-fitienne, at Utrecht, 141, 

Beulwitz, Ludwig Friedrich von, 272 

Biblical references. See James, St.; Job; 
Luke, St.; Matthew, St.; Paul, St. 

Bicker, Jan Bernd, 340 

Blair, Catherine ("the Heiress"), later 
wife of Sir William Maxwell of Mon- 
reith, 297, 367, 368, 371-372 

Blinshall, James, D.D., Scottish minister 
at Amsterdam, 260, 261 

Bodegraven, 119 

Boene, "Widow," Lord Auchinleck's 
landlady at Leyden, 53, 149 

Boetzelaer, Countess of, at Utrecht, 71 

Boetzelaer, Mile, at Utrecht (same as 
preceding?), 113 

Bois-le-Duc (s'Hertogenbosch), 257 

Bonnet, Gijsbertus, professor at Utrecht, 
138, 139, 253, 284 72.5 

Boorsch, Jean, xix 

Boston, Sir Charles (JB's pseudonym), 

Boswell, bookseller at Utrecht, 59 

Boswell, Alexander. See Auchinleck 
(Alexander Boswell), Lord 

Boswell, Charles, son of JB, 31, 124, 177- 
179, 194, 210, 211 

Boswell, David, later Thomas David, 
brother of JB, 40 72.4, 124, 359 72.5 

Boswell, Lady Elizabeth (Bruce), grand- 
mother of JB, 53 72. 

Boswell, James, 4th laird of Auchinleck, 

Boswell, James, of Auchinleck, grand- 
father of JB, 2-3, 17, 53 n., 65, 219 

Boswell, James, turner at Amsterdam, 53 

Boswell, James, glass merchant at Am- 
sterdam (same as preceding?), 260, 261 


[Part I. Biographical; Narrative Sum- 
mary of Life in Holland, 1763-1764; 
Part II. a. Traits of Character, b. 
Opinions, c. Religious Sentiments and 
Beliefs; Part III. a. Writings in Hol- 
land, b. Other Writings.] 

I. Biographical; Narrative Summary 
of Life in Holland, 1763-1764. Sketch 
of JB's life to Aug. 1763, 1-2; refer- 
ences by JB to events prior to that date, 
29, 34, 45-46, 47, 5i, 55, 63-64, 68, 74, 
88, 92, 122, 123, 128-129, 142, 159, 
174, 232, 267, 387-388; Johnson accom- 
panies to Harwich, 2-5; JB lands at 
Hellevoetsluis, 5; goes to Rotterdam, 
5-6, to Leyden, 4, 6, 7, to Utrecht, 6-7; 
takes up smoking, 4, 125-126; very un- 
happy, returns to Rotterdam, 7-9; begs 
Dempster to meet him at Brussels, 9- 
10; Dempster goes to Brussels but JB 
makes torn of Holland, stops at 
Utrecht, again returns to Rotterdam, 
10-13, 16; JB receives good advice 
from Temple, 11, 14-16, 28, 387; is 
confirmed by The Rambler, 18, 28, 
121, 387; returns to Utrecht, engages a 
servant, and takes rooms, 18, 20, 28; 
lays out a programme of study, 22, 28, 
32, 38, 40, 43, 204-205, 214; begins 
French themes (see also Part III of 
this article), 22; forms a plan of mar- 
rying Miss Stewart (see also Stewart, 
Margaret), 23; counsels himself as to 
concubinage, 24, 50; counsels himself 
to be reserved, 24, 39, 40, 47, 49, 5*t 
64, 68, 74, 76, 80, 85, 86, 95, 96, 103, 
no, 116, 119, 133, 137, 143, 144, 147, 
148, 151, 170, 175, 178, 181, 197, 205, 
215, 228, 232, 233, 236, 237, 240, 241, 
243, 247, 249, 253, 388-390; begins to 
attend lectures on Civil Law, 25; be- 
gins to rise at half-past six, 37; begins 
writing ten-line verses (see also Part 

Index 405 

III of this article), 37; suffers from the 
cold, 39, 48-49; pleased with his prog- 
ress, 39, 43, 47, 50, 54, 55, 61, 67, 69- 
71, 73, 80, 84, 85, 88, 94, 95, 104, 124, 
144, 146, 148, 152, 153, 161, 168, 174, 
175; joins a society for French conver- 
sation (see also Utrecht, Societies), 43; 
begins to dine with Mr. Brown (see 
also Brown, Rev. Robert), 43, 44; 
makes out Inviolable Plan (see also 
Part III of this article), 47; begins to 
notice Belle de Zuylen (see also 
ZUYLEN, BELLE DE), 55-56; plays at 
shuttlecock with Mile Kinloch, 57, 60, 
74; comments on his mistakes in 
French, 57-58, 213; catches a cold, 61 ; 
spends riotous evening with Dutch 
students, 68; taken up by Countess of 
Nassau (see also Nassau Beverweerd, 
Johanna, Countess of), 69-71; the as- 
semblies begin, 70 Ti.1, 80, 121; allows 
himself three hours each evening for 
amusement, 82; counsels himself 
against intrigues, 80-81, 85-86, 88, 95; 
has indigestion, 86; eats too much, 88, 
92, 128, 171; at Leyden, 95-96; at The 
Hague for Christmas vacation, 97-1 16, 
121-122, 194; gloomy, peevish, sple- 
netic, 97, no, 113, 114, 116; meets M. 
and Mme de Spaen (see also Spaen), 
98, admitted to a morning club, 100, 
101 ; meets M. Sommelsdyck (see also 
Sommelsdyck, F. C. van A. van), 104; 
receives the sacrament for the first time 
in Church of England, 106-107, 122; 
argues for concubinage, 107; at Ley- 
den, 116-117; at Rotterdam, 117-119; 
sits seven hours at cards, 119; returns 
to Utrecht, 119; plans to compile a 
Scots dictionary, 120, 137, 138, 162- 
168, lazy, 125, 126-127, 140, 197199; 
meets Mme Geelvinck, 127, falls in 
love with her (see also Geelvinck, 
Catherine), 132; begins Dutch themes, 
133; suffers from low spirits, 144, 145, 
157-158, sick at stomach, 158; begins 
fencing lessons, 158, gloomy and un- 
healthy, 160, 161, 168; has a bad cold, 
169-172, 194; says he had been happier 


in vice than virtue, 172; has sad 
dreams, 172; gloomy, 174; wel1 an< * 
cheerful, 174; distressed by news of his 
son's death, 177-179, 194, 210-211; at- 
tends mass at Jesuits' church, 179; 
very gloomy, 180-192, 194-196, 200, 
210-212; grows better, 192; represses 
thoughts of whoring, 192-193, 231, 
232, 237, 249; fears madness, 193; 
awakes thinking he is dying, 196; takes 
an oath to endure melancholy silently, 
201; thinks he may have women, 201, 
214, 222, 236, 249, 258, 259, forms 
scheme of translating Erskme's Prin- 
ciples (see also Erskine, John), 202; 
blood let, 202; witnesses eclipse, 203- 
204; attends last of the assemblies, 205; 
confused and desperate, 205-207, 209- 
212; dreary as a dromedary, 209-210; 
miserable, 213; attends a club of young 
Hollanders, 214, no pleasure in life, 
but gay, 215, dreams he is condemned 
to be hanged, 217; very gloomy, 217, 
279-280, 281-282; well after sitting up 
late, 221; in high spirits, 224-228, out- 
lines his travels, 227, 275, 280; at Ley- 
den, 228-229, at The Hague for Easter, 
229-236, gloomy, 231-233, 236; re- 
ceives the sacrament, 231; takes medi- 
cine, 231-232, tells Maclaine of having 
been Roman Catholic, 232; returns to 
Utrecht, 236; at Leyden, 238-239; con- 
sults Dr. Gaubius, 239, 251; at The 
Hague for the kermis, 239-244; 
gloomy, 242, 244; loses considerable 
sums at cards, 243; disputes fornica- 
tion, 244, 273; returns to Utrecht, 244; 
relaxed and bad, 246; lies abed, 246, 
249; talks of ghosts and religious hor- 
rors, 247; ill, meanly scrupulous, 249; 
better, 253; consults Dr. Halm, 258, 
276, consults Dr. Tissot, 258; goes out 
to Zuylen, 259, 263, 277-278, 285, 
286; goes to Amsterdam, visits brothels 
and a speel-huis but finds no girl that 
pleases him, 260, 261; has scruples of 
conscience, 260; returns to Utrecht, 
262; sits up all night, in an agreeable 
fever, 263; goes to The Hague for the 


King's birthday, 265-266, 267-273, 
275; discusses the Roman Church with 
a lawyer, 265; goes to Rotterdam, 266- 
267; tells Caldwell the whole story of 
his life, 267, learns that he is to travel 
with Lord Marischal, 268; very happy, 
268-269; sups with Duke of Brunswick, 

272, 275; at Leyden, 273; engages a 
Swiss servant, 273; returns to Utrecht, 

273, 274, Trotz concludes his college, 
274; JB confined with a cold, 276; a 
fine, gay gentleman, 279, 280, 282, 
287, sleeps naked on the floor, 286, 
stands godfather for Brown's child, 
286, gets a character from his servant, 
290-291, 394-395; leaves Utrecht in a 
glow of spirits, 290, summary of his 
life from June, 1764 to spring, 1768, 

II. a. Accomplishments, Tastes, 
Traits of Character. Smokes tobacco, 4, 
125-126; fears madness, 6, 7, 193, 279- 
280, 281-282, benevolent, 17, 27; fond 
of dress: has suit of sea-green and sil- 
ver, 20, 37, 131, another of scarlet and 
gold, 37, 43, 44, 46, 162, a fine white 
suit, 146, 153, a suit of flowered silk, 
265, 268, list of his wardrobe, 395-396, 
references to other articles of dress, 46, 
152, 153, to toothpicks, 88; fond of bil- 
liards but thinks them blackguard, 22, 
25, 32, 207, 209, 214, 217, 222; given 
to matrimonial schemes see Geelvmck, 
Cathenna; Stewart, Margaret, ZUY- 
X.EN, BELLE DE; has strong feeling of 
family, 34, 38, 157, 337-338, 387, 389; 
vain (proud), 43, 63, 70, 127, 170, 
277-278, 328, 349-350; likes to wash 
his feet in warm water, 45, 207, likes 
to sing, has a good ear, 55, cannot re- 
sist anything laughable, 68; has an 
excellent memory, 79-80, 128; a mon- 
archist, 83, 150; treasures romantic 
associations, 119, 124, 280; indolent, 
125, 126-127, 140, 197-199; thinks he 
was badly educated, 128; a Tory but 
not a Jacobite, 131, kind to servants, 
134-135, 291; Plays the flute, 136, 147; 
honest and good-natured, 142; roman- 

tic, 146; fickle in love, 157; fnd of 
money, 157; likes to sleep with his 
head high, 159-160; given to whims of 
regularity, 169, has great difficulty in 
rasing, 198; plagued by narrowness, 
233, 350; has a facility in learning 
languages, 242; a man of form, 307- 
308, 370; a man of strict probity, 314; 
likes novelty only in matters of the 
imagination, 3*7; believes in subor- 
dination, 336, 338; knowledge re- 
stricted, cannot apply to study, 350; 
subject to low spirits: see Part I of this 
article, passim; seeks greater reserve of 
character: see Part I of this article, 
references beginning with p. 24 

b. Opinions. On nightcaps, 49-50; 
the Sabbath, 51; .English music, 51-52; 
Scots music, 55, 168; learning French, 
57-58, 213, breeches, 59-60; the Tories, 
67; the Hanoverian line, 67, Groom of 
the Stole, 68-69; republicanism and 
monarchy, 79, 83; English authors as 
compared to French, 83; too great sub- 
tlety, 87; his own themes, 87-88; 
French morality, 93; fashion, 101; in- 
dolence, 126-127, 140-141, 197-198; 
education of children, 128-129; the fast 
on 30 January, 129-130; the Dutch 
language, 133-1 34> 1 36; the proper 
way to fold coats, 134; treatment of 
servants, 134-135; the optimus mun- 
dus, 135; origin of dreams, 146, stock- 
ings and shoes, 152; fasting, 152-153; 
poverty, 160-161, Scots language and 
literature, 162165; pride and emula- 
tion, 169; Tokay wine, 172; gaming, 
181; meals, 189-190; rising in the 
morning, 198; prudence, 309-310; met- 
aphysics in women, 311; disobedient 
daughters, 327; women with talents, 

c. Religious Sentiments and Beliefs. 
Prayers and ejaculations, 7, 9, 10, 18, 
23, 29, 169, 280, 281; church attend- 
ance, 23, 44, 51, 88, 106, 114, 119. 
169, 179, 222, 231, 239, 244, 249, 261, 
264, 268, 286, 291; calls life a state of 
probation, 33; dreads Sunday because 

Index 407 

of gloomy associations, 50-51, 264; de- 
fends revelation, 50, 62 72.5; counsels 
piety, 54, 61, 95, 103, 140, 152, 179, 
190, 196, 249, 388, thinks he is too 
strict with himself, 61; hopes to be 
prepared for death by an Anglican 
clergyman, 61; depreciates Calvinism, 
73> 3i6, tortured by metaphysics of 
fate ? free-will, necessity, and origin of 
evil, 9091, 179, 182, 183, 192, 195, 
201, 204, 231, 232, 240, 269; considers 
himself committed to moral behaviour 
as a Christian, 95, 107; takes the sacra- 
ment for first time in Church of Eng- 
land, 106-107, 122, depreciates reli- 
gious training of his childhood, 129, 
252, 282; meditates on problem of soul 
and body, 140-141; asks Mme Geel- 
vinck's religion, 147, 152, 155-156; 
fasts, reads prayers, 153; convinced of 
Christian miracles, 174; debates Chris- 
tian morals, 174; finds relief in reli- 
gion from grief at son's death, 178; 
convinced of revelation, 183, 212, prays 
for delivery from gloom, 189, loses 
comforts of religion when melancholy, 
211, 215, 284; counsels against austere 
devotion, 215; suffers sceptical (in- 
fidel) thoughts, 217, 239, 246, 252, 
269, questions if GOD forbids girls, 222; 
owns having been Roman Catholic, 
232, 267, talks about future life, 233; 
disputes Athanasian Creed, 240, "con- 
tinue Christian, as Johnson; Church of 
England," 240, 241; discusses immor- 
tality, 246; reads Rousseau, embraces 
enlarged notions of GOD and liberal 
interpretation of Christianity, 247, 
252-253, 265, 267, 282, 285, 311, 334, 
335-336; teases Madame about tran- 
substantiation, 267 

III. a. Writings in Holland, i. Mem- 
oranda in Holland, described, x, xu- 
xiv, bibliography of, xvni-xix; selec- 
tion printed in this volume, 4-258; JB 
begins in French but soon shifts to 
English, except for dialogue, 4, 20, 24, 
85 n.; to be looked at first thing each 
morning and reviewed on Saturday, 


38; to review previous day, indicating 
what was right and what wrong, 49, 
50, 200 72.3; to be free in self-criticism, 
56; become-rough notes for journal, 111 
72.3; provide a truer picture of JB's 
mind than his journal or letters, 182 
72.2, JB fails to write, xiv-xv, 228 72.9, 
236 72.2, special memoranda, 95, 302 
72.4; quoted, 295 

2. Journal in Holland, 310 pages 
on 20 Jan. 1764, 122; "great quantity" 
on 23 March 1764, 196; 536 pages on 
18 June 1764, 258 72. 7> portion covering 
5 Aug. 1763-24 May 1764 lost m JB's 
lifetime, ix-x, 258 72.7, 359, 364, 366, 
375 72.3; bibliography of portion cover- 
ing 24 May-i8 June 1764, xv, xviii- 
xix; printed in this volume, 258-290; 
JB behind in, 38; directs himself to 
bring up, 3, 20, 22, 23, 32, 38, 39, 40, 
44 ("all evening, to bring it up once 
clear"), 46 ("after this clear it every 
three days"), 47, 5> 5*, 81, 92 

("short"), 94, 107, 117 ("you have 
great materials"), 125, 131, 140 ("but 
not too full"), 147, 152 ("obstinate 
three hours"), 170, 172 ("all night"), 
175, 190, 193, 196, 197, 202, 213, 214, 

217, 222, 233, 241, 243, 244, 249, 253; 

counsels himself to be more selective, 
146, notes particular matter recorded 
or to be recorded, 38, 47, 68, 160, 251; 
plans to write in canal boat, 94; plans 
to bring up, but falters, 119, 286, works 
at, 39, 47, 97, 146, 147, *53, 169, 203; 
begins to convert memoranda into 
notes for, 49, 111 72.3; plans to get a 
box for, 193; does not do justice to JB's 
moral struggle, 260; Johnson urges 
him to continue, 90; JB proposes to 
send to Temple, 17, 27, 31, 250; plans 
to read it with Johnston, 31; Caldwell 
reads, 247; JB thinks it will be enter- 
taining, 31,202, 244 

3. French Themes, described, x-xi; 
bibliography of, xv, 162 n., 245 72.6; 
translated in this volume, xvii, xix, 
French of one given as specimen, 391 
392; selection printed in this volume, 


22, 37, 38 n.g, 43, 45, 48, 49, 49 n>5> 
5*, 52, 54, 57, 59, 61, 63, 67, 68, 79, 
86, 126, 127, 128, 134, 140, 144, 159, 
162, 189, 190, 197, 203, 213, 229, 245; 
method of composition, 22, 57, 63 72.7, 
79-80, 86-87, 162 72., 213; corrected by 
Carron or Brown, 6 72.3, 23 72.7, 47, 49, 
57, 60 72.3, 7*, 94; characterized by JB, 
68-69, 80, 87-88; sometimes take the 
form of arguments, 134 72 ; JB thinks 
they go well, 67-68; behind in, 86-87, 
214 72.6; counsels himself to write, 38, 
40, 92, 172, 203, 213, 214, 228, 241, 245, 

4. Dutch Themes, described, x-xi; 
bibliography of, xv; translated in this 
volume, xvii, xix, selection printed in 
this volume, 133, 136, 138, 148, 152, 
158, 170; reference to earlier study of 
Dutch, 67; method of composition, 133; 
JB counsels himself to write, 172 

5. Ten-Line Verses, described, x-xi, 
bibliography of, xv; selection printed 
in this volume, 37, 39, 46, 48, 50, 55, 
56, 79, 84, 86, 101, 103, 111, 125, 128, 
136, 143, 148, 152, 168, 177, 178, 181, 
193, *98, 200, 202, 204, 205, 206, 207, 
214, 310, aim in writing, 37-38; writ- 
ten in the evening, often late at night, 
200 72.3 (see also the verses^ passim); 
JB pleased with, 48, counsels himself to 
write, no, fails to write because ill, 
171; discontinues, 228; mentioned, 95, 
197, ?27i 

6. Letters, xi xii, xv xvi, xvii-xviii. 
See also the individual correspondents 

7. Inviolable Plan, former printing, 
xviii, printed in this volume, 387; JB 
counsels himself to write out, 22, 38, 
44, 47; writes out, to be read every 
morning, 47; to be read each Saturday 
only, 60-61, 125; JB is, or counsels 
himself to be fixed in, 54, 80, 86, 94, 
95, 183, 222, 228, 237, 240, 307 72.8 

8. Scots Dictionary, JB plans, 120; 
describes, 162-168; advances in, 137; 
defends, 138; mentioned, 138 

9. Translation of Erskine's Princi- 
ples of the Law of Scotland, JB plans, 


201, describes, 245-246; works at and 
worries over, 203-209, 213-215, 217, 
222, 228, 247 

10. Miscellaneous: Dialogues at The 
Hague, xvi, 97-101, 101-103, 104-106; 
Discourses for Literary Society, xvi, 
54, 86, 87, 160-162; Register of Letters, 
x, xvi, 43 72.3, 81 72.1, 333 71.4, 341 72.4; 
General Expense Account, x, xvi; Ac- 
count of Sums Lost and Won at Cards, 
x, xvi, 180 72.7, 244 72.3; Female Scrib- 
bler, 174-175; Boswelliana, 64, 203 72.2 

b. Other Writings, i. Not Written 
for Publication. Memoranda in Lon- 
don, 1763-1764, x, 3-4, 195 72.4; Lon- 
don Journal, 1762-1763, ix, xi, xvii, i, 

4 72.6, 26 72.5, 5 1 rt-iO, 8l 72.2, 123, 195 

ra.4, 309 n.; Memoranda in Germany, 
307 72.8; sketch of his life written for 
Rousseau, 45 72.9; journal covering his 
interviews with Rousseau, 327; diary, 
May, 1768, 374 

2. Published. (For fuller informa- 
tion see F A. Pottle, The Literary- 
Career of James Boswell, 1929.) An 
Evening Walk in the Abbey Church of 
Holyroodhouse, 1758, 265 72.7; The Cub 
at Newmarket, 1762, 63 72.6; Letters 
Between tlie Hon. Andrew Erskine and 
James Boswell, Esq., 1763, 13 72.1, 239; 
The Essence of the Douglas Cause, 

1767, 369, 372; An Account of Corsica, 

1768, 172 72.8, 297, 366, 369, 372, 373 
n-7> 375 rc.2, 376, 377 72.5, 382, 383; 
The Hypochondriack, 1777-1783, 375 
72.3; The Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson, 
LL.D. t 1791,2,4372.3 

Boswell, James the younger, son of JB, 

168 72.5 
Boswell, Margaret (Montgomerie), wife 

of JB, 30 72., 115 n., 376 
Bosweli, John, M.D., uncle of JB, account 

of him, 58 72rt. i, 3; letter to JB, 58; 

mentioned, 59 72.5, 124, 238, 367 
Boswell, Lieut. John, brother of JB, 10, 

66, 221, 236, 237, 239, 243, 249, 253 
Boswell, Thomas David. See Boswell, 

Bottestein, Miles, at Utrecht, 71, 125, 199 


Boufflers-Rouverel, Louis-Edouard, Count 
of, 241, 272 

Boufflers-Rouverel, Mane Charlotte Hip- 
polyte, Countess of, 241 72 8, 272-273 

Bourier (PBounier, PBounen), at Ut- 
recht, 180 

Boyne, Battle of the, 159 

Brabant, Court of, 348 

Breuning, Paul S., xviii, 158 72.2 

British Broadcasting Company, xi 

Brodtkorb, Paul, xix 

Brombsen, Baron, of Holstem, 321, 324 

Broomholm, part of Auchmleck estate, 

Brouwer, at Utrecht, 120 

Brown, Anne. See Dalrymple, Anne 
(Brown), Lady 

Brown, Anne Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. 
Robert Bro\\n, 286, 361, 370, 376 

Brown, Catharine (Kinloch), wife of 
Rev. Robert Brown, her parentage, 23 
72.7, no; does not speak English, 57; 
gives birth to daughter, 286; recovers 
from serious illness, 367; gives birth to 
son, 376; characterized, 70, 364, 370, 
376, JB learns French in her company, 
102, tells JB he is tired of everything, 
253; references to JB supping, taking 
tea, &c. with, 175, 247, 258, 286, men- 
tioned, 60 72.2, 268, 269, 277, 283, 359 
rc-3> 361, 365 
Brown, Lawrence James, son of Rev. 

Robert Brown, 376 

Brown, Rev. Robert, at Utrecht, account 
of him, 23 72.7; characterized, 66, 70, 
73, 76, no, 131, 180, 206, 207; a good 
linguist, 139; correspondent of Sterne 
and Hall-Stevenson, 180; editor of 
Vernet's Lettres critiques, 23 72.7, 257, 
363; given to metaphysical argument, 
*35 i79 182 (Hume on happiness), 
183; advocates rational Christianity, 
183, 237, 249, 276, 377; takes lodgers, 
boarders, and pupils, 23 72.7, 39 72.3, 
360-361, 363, 367; suffers ill health 
after 1766, 358, 362, 365, 376; visits 
Scotland in 1767, 297, 361-362, 371, 
Relations with JB: letters to (texts), 


117, 35^, 362, 366, 375; &s part in the 
loss of JB's journal, x, 359, 364, 366, 
375 rc*3; J3 dines regularly at his house 
for French conversation, 39, 43, 57 and 
passim; corrects JB's French themes, 
47, 49, 63, 125; to assist JB in Scots 
dictionary, 120, JB's teacher in Dutch 
and geography, 133, 170, 181, 190, in 
Greek after Rose's departure, 207, 210, 
222, 248-249, JB considers studying 
Scots law with, 247; JB makes confi- 
dant and adviser of, especially as re- 
gards melancholy, 43, 54, 70, 73, 146, 
172, 177, 189, 196, 207, 221, 236, 246, 
248-249, 277; JB disputes metaphysics, 
religion, and morality with, 73, 131, 
172 (JB happier in vice than m virtue), 
182, 183, 246, 247, 249, 257, 258, 269; 
JB annoyed or bored by, counsels him- 
self as to treatment of, 39, 73, 76, 131, 
144, 145, 174, 180, 182, 189, 190, 204, 
205, 206, 207, 217, 244; JB regiets 
leaving, 287; takes letter from JB to 
Belle de Zuylen, 297, 362 n.8; corre- 
sponds with JB about his books left in 
Utrecht, 359-360, 362-363; urges JB 
to prosecute suit of Belle, sends news 
of her, 360, 364-365, 367, 37i, 378, 
of Fencer Cirx, 360, of Mme Geelvinck, 
361, of Francois Mazerac, 362, 377- 
378; secures Corsican materials for JB, 
360, 363-364; correspondence with JB 
interrupted by a misunderstanding, 
375; about 50 other references, passim 

Brown, William, D.D , professor at St. 
Andrews, brother of Rev. Robert 
Brown, 363 

Bruce, James, overseer at Auchinleck, 

Brunswick, Germany, 275, 280, 308, 314, 

Brunswick, Court of, 227, 273, 318 

Brunswick, family of. See Hanover, 
House of 

Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, Augusta, Duch- 
ess of (Hereditary Princess of Bruns- 
wick), 144, 145 

Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, Friedrich Wil- 
helxn, D. of, 144 n^ 

Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, Karl I, D. of, 

144 tt.4, 221 

Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, Karl Wilhelm 
Ferdinand, D. of (Hereditary Prince 
of Brunswick), 144, 145, 272, 275 
Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, Ludwig Ernst, 

D. of, 116 n. 
Brussels, Belgium, 9, 10, 11, 16, Grand 

Miroir, hotel at, 1 1 

Buccleuch, Francis Scott, 2nd D. of, 266 
Buckingham, George Vilhers, 2nd D. of, 

and others, The Rehearsal, 375 
Buffon, Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de, 

French naturalist, 77 
Burney, Frances, Diary, 49 72.5 
Butcher Row, Strand, London, 81 72.2 
Bute, John Stuart, 3rd E. of, 68, 87 
Butler, Joseph, English theologian, Anal- 
ogy of Religion, 95 
Butler, Samuel, Hudibras, 44 
Byron (or Biron) , Count, 9, 15 

Caen, France, 12 

Caesar, Julius, 304; Commentaries, 320 

Cairnie, John, M.D., 31 n.2 t 210, 281 

Calderwood, David, Scottish historian, 
History of the Kirk of Scotland, 164 

Caldwell, Rev. Samuel, at The Hague, 
account of him, 231 n.6; his amiable 
mind, 267, letter to JB, 247, JB walks 
with, 231, 233, 267; JB disputes with 
on happiness and irregular love, 243, 
273; JB makes his confidant and ad- 
viser as to melancholy, 244, 247-248, 
265, 268, JB tells him the whole story 
of his life, 267, JB confesses scepticism 
to, 269. See also "Hibernians" 

Cambridge, England, 1 7, 76, 78 

Cambridge University, 7 725, 15, 17 n.6, 
195 n.$, 230, 231, 240 

Campbell, George, D.D., Scottish theolo- 
gian, A Dissertation on Miracles, 172 

Canongate, Edinburgh, 177 

Canongate Kilwinning Lodge, Edin- 
burgh, 58 rc.3 

Capraja, island of Italy, 349 

Carlisle House, London, 249 

Carnegie, 44 

Carr, Miss, 79 TZ. 



Carron, clerk of English church at Ut- 
recht, 6, his parentage, 6 71.3; JB's 
French teacher, 6 n.$ y 47, 49, 245, lends 
JB books, 284 n 5, JB drinks tea with, 
calls on, &c., 84, 206, 207, 217, 246, 
249, 23; takes leave of JB, 290, men- 
tioned, 28, 54 72.4, 67 n 4 

Carsboddie (PCarsebome, Stirlingshire), 

Carter, Mrs. Elizabeth, English poet and 

translator, 198 n. 
Castillon (Castiglione, Castillioni) , J. F. 

Salvemini de, professor at Utrecht and 

Berlin, 38-39, 43, 5O, 136, 137 n.i, 320, 

Catch Club, musical society in London, 


Cato,254, 301,315, 331 

Cats, Jacob, Dutch statesman and poet, 

Catt, Henri Alexandre de, 287 71.3, 301, 

Catullus, 347 n. 

Causes celebres et interessantes, &c. See 
Gayot de Pitaval 

Cavendish, John, styled. Lord, 272 

Cazenove, Claviere et fils, bankers at 
Geneva, 322 

Cebes's Table, 28 

Chais, Rev. Charles Pierre, Swiss clergy- 
man and author at The Hague, 66, 105, 
240, 241, 243 

Charles \ of Great Britain and Ireland, 
77, 129 

Charles II of Great Britain and Ireland, 
53 n. 

Charles Edward, Prince, the Young Pre- 
tender, 232 n.2 

Charles, Jolm, D.D., minister at Amster- 
dam, 261 

Charlotte Sophia, queen of George III, 
16/1., 49 71.5, 122 

Chamere, Charles Emmanuel de, 384 

Charriere, Henriette de, 384 

Chamere, Louise de, 384 

Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, 
4th E. of, 4 

Cheyne, George, M.D., Scottish physi- 
cian, 234 

Church of England, JB -wishes to have an 
Anglican clergyman at his deathbed, 
61; Gray advises Temple to take orders 
in, 61, adherence of Tories to, 67, 
Nicholls to take orders in, 83; JB makes 
his communion in for first time, a 06 
rt.3, 107; typical characteristics of its 
ministers, 122; commemorates anniver- 
sary of Charles Fs death with fast, 
129; Mason's preferment in, 151; JB 
to fast on Friday, as directed by, 153; 
no Anglican congregation in Utrecht, 
179 n.i, JB exhilarated by its noble 
worship, 388; mentioned, 231, 232, 
240, 390 

Churchill, Charles, English poet, 78, 79, 
250-251; The Candidate, 250 

Cicero, 82, 337; Epistles, 218 

Cirkz, or Cirx, JB's fencing-master. See 
Dirxen, Frans 

Clarke, Samuel, D.D., 90, 183, 240; Dis- 
course Concerning the Being and At- 
tributes of God, 50; Sermons, 369 

Clarke, Thomas, friend of William John- 
son Temple, 195 

Claxton, John, later F.S.A., 17, 196, 224, 

Cleves, Germany, 111, 217 

Clifton's Chop-house, London, 81 

Coalston (Elizabeth Dalrymple), Lady, 

Coalston (George Brown) , Lord, 54 

Cochrane, at Utrecht, 192 

Cochrane, Basil, Commissioner of Excise 
in Scotland, grand-uncle of JB, 247, 

Cochrane, Mrs. Shirle}', xix 

Cokayne, G. E., Complete Peerage, rvi 
n ; Complete Baronetage, xvi n. 

Cologne Gazette, 360, 363 

Colombier, Switzerland, 385 

Colquhoun, Catharine, wife of Sir Roder- 
ick Mackenzie, 220 

Comte de Warwick, Le. See Laharpe 

"Comtesse, la" See Nassau Beverweerd, 
Countess of 

Connal, Irish wigmaker at Amsterdam, 



Constable, PGeorge, lawyer, 365 

Constant, Benjamin, French writer and 
politician, 384 

Conti, Louis Frangois de Bourbon, Prince 
of, 272 72.3 

Corpus Juris C wills, 32, 45 

Corsi, Maria Maddalena (de' Medici), 
Maichesa, 216 

Corsica, 296, 342 72.5, 343 72., 349, 363, 368 

Covent Garden, London, 224 

Coverley, Sir Roger de, 148 

Cow per, George Nassau (Clavering-Cow- 
per), 3rd E., 216 

Cowper, Hannah Anne (Gore), Countess, 
wife of preceding, 216/7. 

Cowper, William, later Clavering-Cow- 
per, 2nd E., 216/2. 

Craufurd, James, of Rotterdam, 358, 362 

Craufurd, Patrick, later Sir Patrick, Scot- 
tish merchant at Rotterdam, letters to 
JB, 268, 277; 50 7Z.8, 266, 270, 278 

Croker, John Wilson, Irish politician, es- 
sayist, and editor, 130 n. 

Cromwell, Oliver, 91, 130 n. 

Cudgil, or De Horn, exiled Englishman 
at Utrecht, 369 

Cujas, Jacques, French jurist, 208 

Culdares. See Menzies, Archibald 

Culloden, Scotland, 231 

Culross, Scotland, 53 n., 240 

Cumberland, D. of. See William Augus- 
tus, D. of Cumberland 

Czartoryska, Princess, 325 

Dalrymple, Anne (Brown), Lady, wife 
of Sir David Dalrymple, 54, no 

Dalrymple, Sir David, Bt., later Lord 
Hailes, letters to JB, 40, 90, 96 72.8, 
241; chooses Utrecht as JB's place of 
study, 3, 12, 17; furnishes JB with in- 
troduction to Count Nassau, 7, 295; 
advises JB as to ways of curing melan- 
choly, 40-42; his marriage, 54, 92; a 
model of behaviour for JB, 71, 215, 221, 
223, 231, 244, 389; JB comes to share 
his opinion of Utrecht, 82-83; corre- 
sponds with JB in French, 90, 196, 241; 
jokes JB on Fatality, warns him 
against Voltaire's history, explains 

Dutch civility, 90-92; commissions JB 
to copy notes on Graeci Lyrici, 96, 
once enamoured of Mme Sichterman, 
175, 242, mentioned, 27, 40, 92, no 
Dalrymple, Magdalen, sister of Sir David 

Dalrymple, 40 

Dalrymple, Major William, 87 
Davidson, at Rotterdam, 220, 277 
Degenfeld Schomburg, Frederick Chris- 
tian, Count van, 103 72.4 
Degenfeld Schomburg, Louise Susanna 
(Countess of Nassau), Countess van, 
103, 111, 230 

Delawarr, John West, 6th Baron, 176 72.3 
Delft, 266, 267 
Delphi, Temple at, 390 n. 
Demosthenes, 197 

Dempster, George, M.P., account of him, 
9 72.9; characterized, 9, 252, 270-271, 
letters to JB, n, 19, 71, 270, makes 
journey from Paris to Brussels to com- 
fort JB, 9, 10, 11, 16; advises JB to 
endure melancholy silently or transfer 
to French academy, 12-14, to cultivate 
scepticism, 19, gives JB news about 
Wilkes, 72-73; would laugh at JB's 
sexual scruples, 258; mentioned, 15, 19 
72., 21, 38, 277 

Dempster, Jean, sister of preceding, 272 
Denis, Mme Louise (Mignot), niece of 

Voltaire, 327 
Deputy Director of the Chancery. See 

Russel, John 

Derrick, Samuel, Irish author, 92 
Derry, county in Ireland, 231 72.6 
Des Essar, at Utrecht, account of him, 

203; mentioned, 135, 162, 182, 196 
Dessau. See Anhalt-Dessau 
Deucalion, 102 

De Wit, Jacob, Dutch painter, 1 1 1 72.2 
Dick, Sir Alexander, Bt., 169 72.7 
Dickstoun, Pfarm at Auchinleck, 53 
Dictionary of National Biography, The, 

Xvi 72. 

Digges, West, actor, 2, 124, 140, 152, 176 
PDirxen, Frans (called Cirx or Cirkz), 

JB's fencing-master, 158-159, 174, 217, 

285, 360 
Dodsley, Robert, English poet, play- 



wright, and bookseller, A Collection of 
Poems by Several Hands, 117 
Doig, Peggy, mother of JB's son Charles, 

31 72.2, 21O Jl. 

Donaldson, Alexander, Scottish book- 
seller, 177, 272 

Donaldson, John, Scottish painter, 168, 
169 n.j 

Donhof, Count, 324-325 

Dordt (Dordrecht), 84 

Douglas, Archibald James Edward Doug- 
las, later ist Baron Douglas of Douglas, 
265 n.6 

Douglas, Lady Jane, wife of Sir John 
Stewart, Bt., Grandtully, 265 n.7 

Douglas Cause, The, 264 71.4, 265 n.6, 265 
n.7, 364 n.i, 366 n., 377 n.6 

Drummore (Hew Dalrymple), Lord, 87 

Drury Lane, London, 224 

Dry den, John, 38, 197 n. 

Du Chasteler et de Courcelles, Francois 
Gabriel Joseph, Marquis ("Marquis de 
Chatelaine")* 361 

Dunbar, William, Scottish poet, 165 n. 

Dundas, Henry, later ist V. Melville, 220 

Dundas, Robert (Lord Arniston), the 
younger, Lord President of the Court 
of Session, 108 

Dundee, Scotland, 19 

Dundonald, Thomas Cochrane, 8th E. of, 
grand-uncle of JB, 130, 247 n., 265 

Dundonald, William Cochrane, 7th E. of, 
130 n. 


East India Company, 271 
Eck, Cornelius van, Dutch jurist and pro- 
fessor at Utrecht, Principia juris civilis, 


Edgerton, Franklin, xix 

Edinburgh, gloominess of Sundays in, 
50-51; North Bridge built, 59; JB 
hopes to die in, or in London or Au- 
chinleck, 61; JB's legal practice in, 297; 
its society, 316, 348, 364-365 

Edinburgh, University of, 4 n.6, 10, 28 
n.8, 202 n.7 

Edinburgh Theatre, 124 

Edward Augustus, D. of York, 63, 64 

Edwards, stationer at Temple Gate, Lon- 
don, 81 n.2 

Efferen, Countess d*, at Utrecht, 71 

Egluiton, Alexander Montgomerie, loth 
E. of, i, 55, 63, 170, 258, 267, 271 

Elgin, Charles Bruce, 5th E. of, 30 n. 

Elgin, Martha (White), Countess of, 
30 n. 

Eliott, Ann (Pollexfen), later Lady 
Heathfield, 360 n. 

Ehott, Gen. George Augustus, later Lord 
Heathfield, 360 

Emile. See Rousseau 

Emmanuel College, Cambridge, 231 n^ 

Epictetus, 95, 148, 350 

Erasmus, 219 

Erskine, Hon. Andrew, account of him, 
13, 26 n.4, 176 n.2, 271, 309 n.; letter 
to JB, 175; Letters Between the Hon- 
ourable Andrew Erskine and James 
Boswell, Esq., 13 n.i, 239; his and JB's 
unpublisned jeu tfesprit, 73; his farce, 
She's Not Him and He's Not Her, 176- 
177, 272; mentioned, 177, 228 

Erskine, Lady Anne, sister of Andrew 
Erskine, 177 

Erskine, John, of Carnock, Scottish jurist, 
Principles of the Law of Scotland 
(called "Erskine's Institutes" by JB 
and his father), JB's study of, 21, 32, 
38, 44, JB's scheme to translate into 
Latin, 197, 201 n.4, 213, 215, 217, 222, 
228, 245-246, 247; mem. to get a copy 
of for Trotz, 45; Lord Auchinleck 
thinks it well composed, 65; Lord Au- 
chinleck sends JB a copy of, 220, 236; 
Institutes of the Law of Scotland, 32 

Erskine, John, of Alloa, 36 n. 

Essay on Woman, An. See Potter, 

Estienne (Jhienne, Stephanus), Henri II, 

Faber du Faur, Curt von, xix 
Faculty of Advocates, Edinburgh, 34> 389 
Fagel, Hendrik, Dutch statesman, 244 
Fagel, Johanna Catharina, later wife of 
Willem van Tuyll, 244 n.i 

414 Index 

Favart, Charles Simon, French play- 
wright, U Anglais a Bordeaux, 244, 363 

Fergusson, James ("young Pitfour"), ad- 
vocate, 272 

Fergusson, Rev. Joseph, JB's childhood 
tutor, 47 

Feronce von Rotenkreutz, Jean Baptiste, 
Privy Councillor of Brunswick, 273- 

Fettercairn House, Scotland, i 

Findlater, James Ogilvy, 6th E of, 231 

Findlater, Sophia (Hope), Lady, wife of 
the preceding, 231 

Fingal. See Macpherson, James 

Fitzgerald, Mrs. Lucyanna, xix 

Flanders, 221, 227, 349 

Florence, Italy, 216 

Floyer, Charles, Governor of Madras, 36 

Floyer, Frances, later wife of John Ers- 
kme of Alloa, 36, 195 71.4 } 

Foladare, Joseph, xviii 

Foley, Ralph, later Sir Ralph Foley, St., 
banker in Paris, 354 n. 

Forbes, Sir William, Bt., of Pitshgo, 
banker and author, 39-40 

ForJwich, Lord. See Cowper, George 
Nassau (Clavering-Cowper), 3rd E, 

Fordyce, Alexander, Scottish banker in 
London, 72 

Fort Augustus, Scotland, 221 

France, 190, 195, 227, 256 

Franeker, Friesland, 44, 170 

Fraser, Alexander, of Strichen, 220 

Frazer, George, excise officer in Scot- 
land, 220 

Frederick Augustus, D. of York, 216 

Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, no 


Frederick William I of Prussia, 97 72.5 
Frederick II (the Great) of Prussia, 50 

^.6, 97 ^.5, in, 221, 251 72., 268 72.5, 

284 72.6, 287 72.3, 301 n., 319, 320 
Friesland, 44, 170 
Froment, Denis-Daniel de, 284 72.6 
Froment, Mme Emet-UUa ("Madame 

Turk"), wife of the preceding, 283, 

284, 285, 286, 313, 318, 320 

Gall, banker in Edinburgh, 359 n.5 
Gascoyne, Bamber, M.P., later Lord of 

the Admiralty, 72 
Galloway, Alexander Stewart, 6th E. of, 


Galloway, John Stewart, 7th E. of 
("Lord Garhes"), 159 

Galloway, Scotland, 159 

Gaubius, Jerome David, physician and 
professor at Leyden, letter from JB, 
238; Sermo academicus alter de regi- 
mine mentis quod medicorum est hab- 
itus, 232, 239, 251, JB consults con- 
cerning his melancholy, 238-239, 248, 
251; his advice to M. Chais, 240; his 
Latin style, 278 TZ.I; mentioned, 59 

Gay, John, The Beggar's Opera, 2 

Gayot de Pitaval, Francois, Causes ce- 
lebres et inter essantes, &c., 109 

Gazette Franfaise, (probably Gazette 
d'Utrecht), 203 

Geelvinck, Catherine Elisabeth (Hasse- 
laer) (""la Veuve"), account of her, 127 
72.2; her age, 132 n.; her three mar- 
riages, 162, 361, 361 n.; described and 
characterized, 128, 131, 132 n., 136, 
137, 142, 146, 147, 157, 169, 189, 227, 
259> 296, letter to JB, 184; JB plays 
cards with, 128; Belle's character- 
sketch (Portrait) of her, 131-132, 
132 n. (extracts), 183, 184 72.9; JB in 
love with, 132, 136, 148, 153, 158, 211; 
JB's conversations with, 132, 136, 141- 
143, 154-157, 212-213; JB envied for 
his intimacy with, 132-133; JB talks 
too much about, 133; mem. to think no 
more of, 133; JB plans cautious, gentle 
approach in wooing, 136, 144, 147, 148, 
152, 197, corrects JB's French, 136, 
promises to lend JB the "Portrait of 
Zelide," 136, JB conceals his feelings 
for, 137; mem. to be retenu, except 
with, 143; JB swears not to speak of 
himself, except to, 144; JB believed to 
be in love with, 146, 169, 216; mem. to 
discover real nature of, 146; JB dreams 
of, 146; la Comtesse observes JB's prog- 
ress with, 146; JB contemplates mar- 
riage with, 147; JB exchanges looks 


with, 147; mem. to ask her religion 
and history, 147-148, 152; discussed 
at assembly, 148; JB disappointed at 
absence of, from assembly, 148, JB 
thinks may be trying his patience, 148, 
mem. to subdue passion for, 148, to 
tip valet of, 148; JB subdues passion 
for, 152; mem. to ask confidence and 
advice of, 152, to ask to write him 
from The Hague, 152, 153; JB fears 
seeing, 153; JB thinks he has made an 
impression on, 153; mem. to confess 
devotion to, 153, to sound out senti- 
ments of, 153; JB seeks company of, 
at children's party, 153 71.4; JB regards 
as friend and confidant as well as mis- 
tress, 158; JB resolves to be worthy of, 
158; JB watches leave Utrecht, rav- 
ished by sight of, 158; discussed by 
Des Essar, 162; letter from, fails to 
rebeve JB's gloominess, 189; JB at- 
tracted to like steel to a magnet, 199; 
effects of JB's passion for, 211; JB con- 
fesses changes of heart to, 212-213; 
Lord Auchinlcck remarks on aloofness 
of, 220; JB's reservation as to widow- 
hood of, 227; Temple offers to JB in a 
bargain for Belle, 250; JB's temporary 
preference for over Belle, 296; friend- 
ship of, with Belle, 296, 361; men- 
tioned, xii, 127, 140, 170, 201, 205, 
217, 237 

Geelvinck, Lieve, husband of preceding, 
127 72.2, 162 

Geelvinck, Lieve, son of preceding and 
Mme Geelvinck, 154, 156 

Geneva, Switzerland, 10, 23 72.7, 227, 230, 
322, 323, 325, 328, 332 

Gennet, Mrs., at Rotterdam, 2 1 

Genoa, Italy, 339, 34* > 342 72.5, 349 

George I of Great Britain and Ireland, 

George II of Great Britain and Ireland, 
116 ru 

George III of Great Britain and Ireland, 
characterized, 67, 83; insists on punish- 
ment of Wilkes, 72; appealed to by 
House of Lords to prosecute author of 
Essay on Woman, 73, JB's loyalty to, 


131; his birthday celebrated at Sir 
Joseph Yorke's, 264, 268, 275; men- 
tioned, 63 n.6, 68, 139, 144 72.4 
George, House of. See Hanover, House of 
Germamcus Caesar, 149 
Germany, 195, 217, 227, 275, 278, 280, 

319, 327 
Germany, Courts of, 2, 221, 227, 235, 250, 

258 72., 282, 296, 319 
Giardini, Felice di, Italian musician, 52 


Gil Bias. See Lesage 

Gilmour, Sir Alexander, Bt, of Craig- 
miller, 371-372 

Glasgow, Scotland, 108, 174 72.6 
Godet, Philippe, Madame de Charriere et 
ses amis, 184 72.9, 188 ., 263 72.2, 279 
"3, 356 rc,8, Lettres de Belle de Zuylen 
(Madame de Charriere) a Constant 
Hermenches, 379 

Goens, Ryklof Michael van, Dutch phi- 
lologist, 253 
Gordon, Alexander Gordon, 2nd D. of, 


Gordon, Hon. Charles, brief account of, 
16; characterized, 21, 96, he and JB 
consider JB's settling in Leyden so as 
to be companions, 16, 21, JB dislikes, 
96, 111, 114, 116, thinks better of, 117; 
JB sups at house of with the Prince of 
Strektz, 122; Mme Geelvmck's opinion 
of differs from Belle's, 184; JB com- 
pares himself favourably to, 228; JB 
introduces at Zuylen, 263; mentioned, 
230, 264 72.3 
Gouda, 10, 20, 119 
Graeci Lyrici, 96 
Graham, John, of Kinharvie, formerly 

Provost of Dumfries, 279 
Grand Bailiff. See Nassau La Lecq, Jan 

Nicolaas Floris, Count of 
Grange, Scotland, 31, 120 
Gray, Thomas, poet, characterized, 15, 
33, 62, 83, 151, 252; JB wishes to be 
presented to, 17; confidant of William 
Johnson Temple, 33; mem. to get com- 
monplace-book like his, 38; advises 
Temple to enter holy orders, 61; his 

41 6 Index 

opinion of Mrs. Macaulay's History, 
77, 83; praises the polite French au- 
thors, 77; finds genius more common in 
France than in England, 77, JB differs 
with on relative merit of French and 
English authors, 83; JB puns on his 
name, 83; his Hymn to Adversity 
quoted, 226, mem. to emulate, 249; 
mentioned, 8 n. 

Great Britain, political situation in, 67; 
government of, 150; "saddled for the 
year With armies and excise on beer," 
271; the British characterized, 276-277 

Greek lyrics, 96 

Green, Matthew, English poet, The 
Spleen, 117 

Grimm, Jacob, German philologist and 
mythologist, 139 n.6 

Gronovius, Mile, daughter of Abraham 
Gronovius, 117 

Gronovius, Abraham, classical scholar 
and Librarian of the Univeisity of 
Leyden, letter to JB, 278 (oiigmal, 
393); Lord Auchmleck's friendship 
with, 25; his kind reception of JB, 25, 
JB visits, 96, 117, 228, JB plans to 
copy his notes on the Gieek lyrics for 
Sir David Dalrymple, 96, JB makes 
gift of wine to, 228, 266 n.g y 277 n.8; 
his barometric cat, 229; advises JB con- 
cerning his melancholy, 273; his 
Latin style, 278 TZ.I; mentioned, 95- 
96, 116 

Gronovius, Dorothea Wynanda (van 
Asch van Wijk), wife of preceding, 117 


Guiffardifcre, Rev. Charles de, letters to 
JB, 74, 253, letter from JB, 92; men- 
tioned, 49, 56, 88, 192, 253, 257 n.6, 

Guy, Mme de, at Utrecht, 71 

Haarlem, 10 

Hague, The, described, 98, 121, an, 229, 

289; summer the best time to see, 103; 

not a place for correspondence, 184; 

deranges Count Nassau, 196; many 

Englishmen at, 272; reaction of to 

Belle, 293; reception of William V and opher, 251, 258 

bride at, 365, places, &c., at. Ambassa- 
dor's chapel, 106, 122, 230, 231, 236, 
239, 244, 268, Comedie or Comedy 
(theatre), 96, 97, 98-99, 103, 244, 272; 
English (Piesbytenan) church, 105 
72.9; French chuich, 66 rc.i; House in 
the Wood (Huis ten Bosch), no, in, 
232, 233, 240, 267, kermis, 240 n.6, 
241, 242, 271, 275; Marechal Tmenne 
(inn), 96, 98, 99, 101, 104, 229, 231, 
233; the Parade, 104, 266, Parliament 
of England (inn), 265, 267, 272; Prin- 
sesse Gracht (street), 97, 274, the 
Society (morning club), 100, 101, 103, 
106, 114, 229, see also BOSWELL, JAMES 

Hahn, Johannes David, M.D , professor 
at Utrecht and Leyden, diagnoses and 
prescribes for JB's melancholy, xin- 
xiv, 258, 276, JB hears his lecture, 120; 
JB sups with, 210; JB attends his con- 
cert, 22 1; tells JB anecdotes, 249; mem. 
to have him (to supper?), 249, analyzes 
Belle's character, 283, 285-286; his 
scientific experiments, 317, 369 

Hainault, province of The Netherlands, 

Hall-Stevenson, John, English author, 

Hamilton, James George Hamilton, 7th 
D. of, 264 77.4, 265 72.7 

Hamilton, James Hamilton, 6th D. of, 
264 77.4 

Hampden, John, English statesman, 150 

Handel, George Frederick, 51; The Mes- 
siah, 51-52 

Hanni, Jacob, JB's Swiss servant, 241, 273 

Hanover, House of, 67, 151 

Hardenbroek, Gijsbert Jan, Baron van, 
Steward-General of Utrecht, 199 

Harwich, England, 2, 4, 5, 15 

Hasselaer, Gerard Nicolaasz, 279 

Hasselaer, Susanna Elisabeth (Has- 
selaer), wife of the preceding, cousin 
of Mme Geelvinck, 279, 300 

Hay, Mr., at Rotterdam, 21 

Hay, Alexander, of Edinburgh, 21 72.9 

Hellevoet(sluis), 270 

Helvetius, Claude Adrien, French philos- 


Helvidius Priscus, Roman 
and statesman, 149 

Henderson, Mr., 359 72.5 

Hennert, Johan Frederik, professor 
Utrecht, 137, 237, 247 

Henn IV of France, 146 72.1 

Henryson, Robert, Scottish poet, 165 n. 

Herculaneum, Italy, 88 

Hermenches, David-Louis, Baron de 
Constant de Rebecque, Seigneur d', ac- 
count of, 262 n.8; letter to JB, 262, his 
opinion of the Countess of Degenfeld, 
103 72.4; references to his correspond- 
ence with Belle, 239 72.4, 250 n., 263 
71.1, 285 n., 293 -2, 295, 312 72., 361 72.; 
extracts from their correspondence con- 
cerning JB, 263 72.1, 329 72., 330 72.9, 

378-383; Belle shudders at the thought 
of his seeing her letter to JB, 301, Belle 
urges JB to write to, 305; reads and 
admires JB's letter to Belle, 330; writes 
marriage proposal to Belle in behalf of 
Bellegarde, 330 72.1 

Heron, Jean (Home), first wife of Pat- 
rick Heron, 159 

Heron, Patrick, of Heron, banker, 159 

Herries, Cochrane, and Company, Lon- 
don bankers, 25 72.2, 124 

Hertford, Francis Seymour-Conway, i6th 
E. and later 4th M. of, Ambassador to 
Paris, 76 

Hesse, Prince of, 104 

Heuvel, Mme van den, at Utrecht, 71 

"Hibernians" (Caldwell, Rowley, and at 
least one other of JB's acquaintances at 
The Hague), 236, 239, 243, 244, 267, 
268, 269 

Hill, clergyman in Holland, 192 

Hilles, F. W., xviii, 184 72.9 

Hine, Mrs. Louise W., xix 

Hochkirch, battle of, 284 72.6 

Hogarth, William, painter, 44 

Hogendrop, ?Dirk Johan van, Baron van 
Hofwegen and Tilburg, 75 

Holdernesse, Robert Darcy, 4th E. of, 
151, 272 

Holland: attracts young men preparing 
for the Scots bar, 2; transportation in, 

Index 417 

philosopher 6 72.9, 12, 96 72.9; Dutch "college," 9, 
41, compared metaphorically with 
Paris, 12; government and economy of, 
13, 116 72., 287-288, 289; postal rates 
to England, 18 72.7; its uniqueness, 26; 
its climate, 48, 56, 170; no great dif- 
ference between it and other countries, 
48; requirements for adjusting to life 
in, 48; danger of floods in, 73, 102; JB's 
affection for, 117; coins, 208 72.6; JB re- 
luctant to extend stay in, 245; JB terms 
boorish, 245; JB proud of having passed 
winter in, 266; relative cheapness of 
velvet in, 270; JB satisfied with his 
stay in, 280; degeneration of univer- 
sities in, 289; topography of, 318, 347; 
JB loves, notwithstanding his criticism 

of, 347 

The Dutch: great masters of Roman 
law, 2; addiction to smoking, 4, 13; JB 
impersonates a Dutchman smoking, 
125-126; Dutch professors character- 
ized, 12; brutality and phlegm, 12, 
caricatured, 13; stingy with sugar, 43; 
gardening, 53, 65, care of cattle, 53-54* 
65, festival of Dutch students, 68; cari- 
cature of a Dutch vrouw, 79; meal 
times, 84 72.4; dry civility, 91; do not 
give dinners nor pay visits, 91; Dutch 
Guards, 104, 233; Dutch language, 109, 
no, 133-134, 136; freedom from low 
spirits, 123 72.3, 242, salutations, 136; 
mem. to keep at a distance, 153; love 
of skating, 170; brutish in quarrels, 
261 72.6; simplicity and honesty of 
older generation, 289; tedium of Dutch 
life, 294; profession of advocate es- 
teemed, 348; love of ceremony, 365 
Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh, 265 
Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, 40 72.6 
Homer, 207 

Hook, Mrs. Mary Jane, xix 
Horace, 219, 235 n 8; Satires, 41, 234 
Houston, Col. John, Scottish officer in 

the Dutch service, 114, 233, 268 
Huet, Daniel Theodore, minister of the 

Walloon congregation at Utrecht, 358 
Hume, David, his diplomatic service at 
Paris, 76; writes "Tory" history, 77 


72.5; his literary style, 81; JB reads till 
sick, 180; his notion of the equality of 
happiness, 182; friend of the Countess 
of Boufflers-Rouverel, 241 n.8, 272 72.3; 
disparages metaphysics, 312; History 
of England, 357; his quarrel with Rous- 
seau, 357 n. 

"Hume," or "Humes." See Macgregor, 

"Hungarians" (JB's fellow students at 
Utrecht), 161, 167, 172 72.8, 179, 183, 
196, 209, 221, 236, 249, 253; see also 
Janosi, Gyorgy 

Hyde, Mr. and Mrs. Donald F., 92 72.9, 
203 72.2 

Hyde Park, London, 72 

/ love Sue, song, 128 

Inner Temple, London, 7 72.5, 8, 10, 13, 

16, 17, 3/, 76, 81 72.2, 96, 222, 249 
Inveraray, Scotland, 26 
Inverness, Scotland, 40, 221 
Isham, Lieut. Col. Ralph H., xvi, xvii, 

xix, 293 72.1, 297 72.7, 383 n. 
Italy, 195, 227, 296, 319, 327, 332, 335, 


James I of England, 77, 165 72. 

James V of Scotland, 165 

Janosi, Gyorgy, M.D., 172, 277; see also 

Jerusalem, Abbot Johann Friedrich Wil- 

helm, Protestant divine at Brunswick, 


Job, 177 

JOHNSON, SAMUEL, characterized, 28, 42, 
81, 92, 202, 385; loves biography, xii; 
his famous dictum on life, xiv, his 
definition of a Tory, 67; his anecdote 
of Mrs. Macaulay, 77 72.5; Lord Auch- 
inleck's retort to, 130 72.; on the prob- 
lem of the plenum and the vacuum, 
179 724, on nautical life, 195 72.5, his 
anecdote of Mrs. Carter, 198 ra.; his 
projected edition of Shakespeare, 251 

Relations with JB. Letter to JB, 89; 
JB counsels himself to write to, writes 
to, records receipt of letter from, 4, 42- 
43, 92, 94, 95, 96-97, *74> 196, 197; JB 

emulates or counsels to emulate, xii- 
xiii, 80, 95, 205, 228, 231, 240, 249, 307 
72.8; JB's melancholy not an attempt to 
imitate, xni; charitable towards JB's 
lapses, xiv; his influence on JB's char- 
acter and morals, 2, 18, 36, 50 72 7, 68 
72.6, 90, 92, 121, 202, 295, outlines plan 
of study, recommends religious reading 
for JB, 2, 50 72.7; sees JB off from 
Harwich, 2, 5, 15; JB's friends urge JB 
to remember and to read while melan- 
choly, 14, 17, 22, 42; JB roused by 
Rambler, 18, 20, 28, 121, 387, plans to 
make a cento from his works, 28; JB 
thinks would admire his ten-line verses, 
48, JB talks like against la Comtesse, 
74; JB imagines his opinion of Mrs. 
Macaulay's History, 79, JB prefers his 
style to Hume's, 81, JB regards cor- 
respondence with as the greatest honour 
he ever attained, 92, JB calls the first 
author in England, 92, JB takes his 
Dictionary as model for his projected 
Scots dictionary, 164, 165-166, 167, 
shows him a specimen of the Scots dic- 
tionary, 168 72.5; JB translates one of 
his satires into Latin, 196; JB addresses 
ten-line verses to, 202, JB reads his 
satires, 203; De Guiffardidre depreci- 
ates, 255, JB's copy of Dictionary bor- 
rowed by Belle de Zuylen, 359, 363; 
mentioned, 3, 38 72.1, 78, 190 72.6, 250, 
272 72.3, 384, 385 

Johnston, John, of Grange, account of, 4 
72.6, 7 72.5; letteis fiom JB to, 4 (cont. 
10, 18, 30), 120, 210, 279, bibliography 
of, x-xi, xv, JB counsels himself to 
write to, writes to, recoids receipt of 
letters from, 38, 58, 119, 120, 197, 279; 
JB writes to about Miss Stewart, 24, 
31-32, 120-121; Lord Auchmleck en- 
tertains low opinion of, 26 72.4; has 
charge of JB's son Charles, 31, 124; Dr. 
Boswell desires friendship of, 58, 124, 
JB recommends Rambler and Temple's 
Observations on the Netherlands to, 
121, 122-123; JB allows to read papers 
in his custody, 123; informs JB of 
Charles's death, 177, 210; JB counts on 

help of in carrying out Inviolable Plan, 
389; mentioned, 13, 40, 175, 177. JB's 
letters to Johnston, so far as they are a 
chronicle of his own activities, are 
analysed in BOSWELL, JAMES, Part I 

Jones, Jeremiah, Independent minister 
and biblical critic, A New and Full 
Method of Settling the Canonical Au- 
thority of the New Testament, 243 

Juvenal, Satires, 108, 168 

Kames (Henry Home), Lord, 44, 87; Ele- 

ments of Criticism, 87 
Karl Alexander, Prince of Lorraine, 361 
Kate, Lambert ten, Dutch philologist, 

Aenleiding tot de Kennisse van het ver- 

hevene Deel der Nederduitsche Sprake, 

&c., 139 
Katte, Lieut. Hans Hermann von, 97 72.5, 

Keith, James Francis Edward, Field 

Marshal, 284 
Keith, Lieut. Peter Karl Christoph von, 

97 rc-5 
Kellie, Alexander Erskine, 5th E. of, 13 

Index 419 

Kinloch, Margueiite Susanne, sister of 
Mrs. Brown, does not speak English, 
57; her age, 60 72.2; native of Switzer- 
land, 102; characterized, 60, 68, 370; 
JB wishes she would mend his breeches, 
60; JB plagues, 68, JB plays shuttle- 
cock with, 74; called "la belle sceur" 
74; JB learns French in her company, 
102; her fondness for Switzerland, 102; 
accuses JB of having an ironical air, 
137; mentioned, 23, 72.7, 75, 247, 258, 
286, 361, 365, 367 

Kinloch, family of, 269, 359 72.3 

Kirkheisen, Carl David, President of City 
Council of Berlin, 319 

Kirkheisen, Caroline, daughter of preced- 
ittg) 3 19 320, 322 

Kirroughtrie, estate in Scotland, 159 72^. 

Knaresborough, Yorkshire, 40 

Knox, John, History of the Reformation 
of Religion within the Realm of Scot- 
land, 164 

Kurland, Ernst Johann, Reichsgraf von 
Biron, D. of, 9 72.8 

Kellie, Thomas Alexander Erskine, 6th 

E. of, 17672.1 
Kellie, Scotland, 176 
Kilravock, family of, 39 72.3, 270 
Kincardine, Alexander Bruce, and E. of, 

great-grandfather of JB, 53, 66 
Kincardine, Veronica (van Aerssen van 

Sommelsdyck) , Countess of, great- 

grandmother of JB, 3, 53 72., 66, no 

72.5, 240 72.7 
Kingston, Evelyn Pierrepont, 2nd D. of, 

Kinloch, Lieut. Archibald, later Sir Archi- 

bald, Bt., x, 359, 361, 364, 366 
Kinloch, David, later Sir David, Bt., of 

Gilmerton, 359 
Kinloch, Sir James, Bt., father of Mrs. 

Brown, 23 7, no 
Kinloch, Anne Marguerite (Wild), 2nd 

wife of preceding and mother of Mrs. 

Brown, 110 
Kinloch, Margaret (Foulis), ist wife of 

Sir James Kinloch, no 

Laharpe, Jean Francois de, French poet 
and critic, Le Comte de Warwick, 363 

Lainshaw, Laird of. See Montgomerie, 

Lam, G. L., xix, 216 72. 

La Roche. Bee Rose 

Latimer, Hugh, Protestant martyr, 219 

Lausanne, Switzerland, 102 

Law, references to JB's reading and writ- 
ing of, 88, 92, 127, 131, 133, 192: see 
also Erskine, John, Principles of the 
Law of Scotland; Civil (Roman) Law, 
2, 28, 34, 40, 43, 45, 49, 65, 83, 15*. 
152, 170, 173, 194, 199, 205, 209, Dutch 
law, 170, 205, Scots law (and bar), 2, 
34, 40, 65, 194, 199, 203, 205, 245, 247, 
253, 297, 348 

Lebonk, shoe-maker and skating-master 
at Utrecht, 41 

Legg, Mrs., laundress in the Inner Tem- 
ple, 81 

Leidschendam, 232, 275 

Leith, Scotland, 176, 359, 362, 365 



Lesage, Alain Rene, French novelist and 
playwright, Gil Bias, 95, 245, 248 

Leti, Gregory, Italian historian, 91 

Leusden, Rudolph, piofessor at Utrecht 
("one of our regents") , 324 

Ley den, Lord Auchmleck a law student 
at, 2-3, 1 7, 1 t8, JB's gt andf ather a law 
student at, 2-3, 17, thought to be cul- 
turally mferioi to Utrecht, 3, JB visits, 
6, 95-96, 116-117, 122 > 228-229, 238 
n. f 244, 273; JB considers residing at, 
rather than at Utrecht, 9, 11, 16, 17; 
Charles Gordon hopes JB will spend 
winter at, 21; Andrew Mitchell a 
student at, 221 71.3, JB loves for fathers 
sake, 229, Lord Marischal confuses 
with Utrecht as place of JB's residence, 
270; Gen. Ehott a student at, 36*0 n.-, 
places, &c., at Botanic Garden, 228, 
English chapel, 228, kermis, 273; 
Rapenburg (street), 53; University of 
Leyden, 21 ng> 25 n 3, 96 n.8, 137 77.2, 
161 72., the Vliet (river), 53 

Liebert, H. W, x\m 

Life magazine, xi 

Limier (or Limiers) , 207 

Lindsay, Sir David, Scottish poet, 165 n. 

Locke, John, 39/7.2; Some Thoughts Con- 
cerning Education, 45; Two Treatises 
of Government, 151; Reasonableness of 
Christianity t 253 

Lockhorst, Maria Catharina (van Tuyll) 
van, aunt and godmother of Belle de 
Zuylen, 71, 160, 169 

Lombach, ?Niklaus, of Berne, 258, 263 

London, JB's fondness and nostalgia for, 
i, 5, 9. 10, 13, 35, 92, plans to pass some 
months of each year there, 35, 389; JB 
hopes for good place in, 35; Temple 
finds a handsome fortune necessary for 
living agreeably in, 76, JB recalls first 
visit to, 92, its poetry, 117; mode of 
breakfasting in, 189, JB imagines him- 
self in, 224; JB's' former conduct in, 
271; JB strolls at The Hague as he did 
in, 239; JB stops hi, on way to Auchm- 
leck, 352 n. 

Longueville, Rev. David, Scottish minis- 
ter at Amsterdam, 53, 260 

Lorraine, France, 361 

Louis XV of France, 41 

Louisburg, Nova Scotia, 130 n. 

Love, James, professional name of James 

Dance, actor, 87 
Luke, St., 249 72.10 

Luneburg, Court of, 227, 269, 275, 280 
Lycurgus, Spartan lawgiver, 349 
Lyons, France, 354 

Maarseveen (Maerseveen), Isabella Jo- 
hanna (van Lockhorst) van, niece of 
M. de Zuylen, 324 

Maasdam, Aarnoud Joost van der Duyn, 
Baron, no .g, 114, 116, 229, 241, 243, 
244, 268, 269, 273 

Maasdam, Anna Margaretha (van Aers- 
sen van Sommelsdyck) van der Duyn, 
Baroness, sister of M. de Sommelsdyck, 
no, 269 72.6,379 

Maasdam, Anna van der Duyn, Mile, 
later Countess van Bylandt, daughter of 
preceding, 241 

Macaulay, Catharine (Sawbndge), his- 
torian, History of England, 77, 79, 83, 

Macaulay, George, M.D., husband of 
preceding, 77 

Macfarlane, Lady Elizabeth (Erskine), 
later Baroness Colville, sister of An- 
drew Erskine, 177 

Macfarlane, Walter, of Macfarlane, anti- 
quary, husband of preceding, 176 n.i, 

Macgregor, Hugh, servant of the Aston 
family, 192 

Macheath, Captain, character in The 
Beggar's Opera, 2 

Mackenzie, Hon. James Stuart, Lord 
Privy Seal of Scotland, 108 

Mackenzie, Sir Roderick, Bt., of Scatwell, 

Maclaine, Archibald, co-pastor of the 
English (Presbyterian) church at The 
Hague, account of, 105 77.9; character- 
ized, 231, 239, 248; letter to JB, 208; 
his house the scene of one of JB's Dia- 
logues at The Hague, 105; JB discusses 
religion, morals, melancholy, &c. with, 

107, ass, 333, 242-243; advises JB on 
scheme of translating ErsHne and 
other matters, 206, 207, 208-209, 233, 
243-244; mutual calls, walks together, 
&c., no, 111, 228, 229, 231, 233, 240, 
241, 243; JB hears preach, 114; mem. to 
be more guarded with, 215; JB tells 
him that he had once been a Roman 
Catholic, 232; tells JB everyone thinks 
well of him, 233; mem. to return his 
books, 236; his witticism concerning 
Mile Maasdam, 241; predicts JB will 
have fine character, 243-244; JB dreary 
with, 244; JB teases by defending tra